Virtue-signaling Super Bowl commercials: The good, the bad, and the ugly

As the nation’s highest-rated television program, the Super Bowl offers advertisers the opportunity to define (or re-define) themselves for the public in a way that no other venue can provide. A memorable commercial will be discussed among friends at Super Bowl parties today, and at the office water cooler tomorrow. That’s why companies are willing to pay $5 million for half a minute.

Many companies take the opportunity to associate themselves with themes and values cherished by current and potential customers. The label “virtue-signaling” is usually used by me in a negative fashion when companies and people embrace the shibboleths of progressives, but there are many instances of companies espousing positive values that don’t offend me. I remain cynical about the motives, but uncomplaining about the values themselves.

From a list of the Super Bowl commercials already revealed, one example of virtue-signaling  jumps out at me as good. This one from Verizon, uses the talent of Peter Berg, a former actor who has become one of my favorite film directors:

This one, from luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz is bad, because it employs rapper Ludacris, a man who has been involved in violent altercations, whose music features profanity, and who called President George W. Bush “mentally handicapped,” to grant a boon (Super Bowl tickets) to impressionable mostly-black students at Ron Clark Academy:

Finally, the ugly commercial is actually beautifully-produced – visually the best of those that I have so far seen. It features a very lovable dog, guaranteed to pull on the heartstrings of animal lovers. But what makes it truly ugly is what is hushed-up: the gigantic toll of wild birds exacted by windmills. Budweiser, now a subsidiary of Belgium-based global brewer Imbev, has produced some wonderful virute-signaling commercials in past years, notably the Clydesdale horse kneeling to the flag in memory of 9-11.

But these days, it is the war on CO2 that grabs their attention. Budweiser has constructed a giant windmill at their Fairfield, CA brewery that I have seen many times, and presumably at their other breweries, as a way of pretending that they care for the environment because they buy into the global warming fraud.  I am sorry, but I can’t get the warm and fuzzies over this one, knowing the toll taken on birds. I adore dogs, but that doesn’t make up for slaughtering millions of birds:

Gillette’s shocking man-shaming commercial has caused me to end over half a century as a customer of that company. It remains to be seen if the net effect will be negative, though I can't imagine many men responding positively. Today, Budweiser takes the “Gillette Prize” for worst virtue signaling.

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