The Super Bowl is perhaps as closely followed for its advertisements as for the game itself. This year the game was watched by more than 113 million people, the third-highest viewership in TV history. So, that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or AOC felt the need to comment on a Super Bowl commercial is not surprising; yet what AOC had to say exactly was attention-grabbing.
The Ads In Question
The advertisements that AOC felt the need to comment on were from a Christian group called He Gets Us. The ads, which cost tens of millions of dollars, promoted Christianity and Jesus – a stark departure from the Doritos and Mountain Dew ads that dominate the Super Bowl lineup.
Funding for the He Gets US ad came from anonymous donors, Christian groups, and the owners of Hobby Lobby. The ad’s purpose: to attract communities, like the LGBT community, who Christians have typically shunned.
“One of the ads homed in on the politically dicey subject of immigration and suggest that Jesus would show compassion for immigrants and those straddled by poverty,” the Washington Examiner reported. “It showcased black-and-white imagery of people leaving their homes to avoid persecution before later revealing it was depicting the story of Jesus.”
Another ad featured a series of black-and-white shots, of LGBT community members facing hostile critics in public, with a voice-over telling the story of a person who faced criticism and never backed down, even though he was marginalized and targeted. At the end of the ad, the figure is revealed to be Jesus Christ. Right, I’d be skeptical of courtship from any faction that had invested considerable time and energy into framing me and my group as sinful and evil.
So, yes, I don’t like the ads either. But I respect that the ads belong as much as any other. Maybe AOC felt similarly, but her response makes it hard to tell.
AOC responds to the ads
I don’t really know what she’s talking about exactly; I assume she’s equating Christianity to fascism? Is that right? Or is she conflating Christianity with conservatism and calling conservatism fascism?
I don’t know. I just know that AOC didn’t like the ads.
Like I said, I didn’t like the ads either but if a group wants to spend the money, they can run an advertisement for whatever they want. Half the companies advertising during the Super Bowl could be traced back to some human rights horror or some social injustice or some public health crisis. How many people, who spent a lifetime mainlining Pepsi, have died from diabetes, or heart disease, or some obesity-related illness? Should we talk about Toyota’s labor practices? And do I need to get started on the pernicious effects of Budweiser products?
But that’s the cleverness of AOC. She tweets. We talk about it. Her profile rises. She knows what she’s doing; she probably doesn’t even have a strong opinion on the Super Bowl ads, she just recognized an opportunity to generate a couple dozen extra headlines.
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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.