The Super Bowl is supposed to bring us together. It’s about Americans of all creeds cracking light beers, plopping onto sofas and wondering why on earth Bruno Mars ended up performing in half of the last four Super Bowl halftime shows.
But most years, amid commercials of talking animals and B-list celebrities, at least one advertiser decides to make things controversial.
Here are eight of the most contentious Super Bowl ads of all time:
84 Lumber: The Journey Begins (2017)
The dramatization put faces to the migrants who make often perilous journeys to reach the United States. The ad's extended version ended with the family encountering a wall only to overcome it. The ad, not two weeks after President Trump's inauguration, stirred plenty of uproar (and confusion).
Focus on the Family: Tim Tebow (2010)
The above ad, featuring college football star Tim Tebow, didn’t mention abortion. But it reminded people that Tim Tebow’s mother, Pam Tebow, was advised to abort him. And that made some people very angry.
Snickers: Manly (2007)
Two gross mechanics eat a Snickers bar before Lady-and-the-Tramp style before “accidentally” kissing each other and freaking out about it not being “manly.” Not everyone wanted a Snickers afterward, surprisingly.
Dodge: I Will (2010)
Men monotonously complain about eating fruit, attending work meetings and listening to their wives only so they can drive a Dodge charger. Cries of misogyny ensued.
Nationwide: Boy (2015)
The plot twist: The adorable boy is dead, ala The Sixth Sense. Is the ad effective? Yes. Were people mad they got bummed out? Yes.
Cheerios: Gracie (2014)
Bigots found this ad controversial, which featured a mixed race family with an precious little girl discussing a baby and a puppy. An earlier ad with the same family received an outburst of racist criticism online, so General Mills put out this second one on TV’s biggest stage.
General Motors: Robot (2007)
The ad features a suicidal robot who jumps off a bridge after being cruelly fired by GM. It did not make people want to support GM.
Groupon: Tibet (2011)
Here actor Timothy Hutton mocks the struggle of the Tibetan people as the server at a Tibetan restaurant serves him food. It was a disaster.
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