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Asked if the Super Bowl was an appropriate platform for politically-charged ads, two-thirds of respondents (66 percent) said it was either “not too appropriate” or “not appropriate at all.” Just 20 percent of respondents said political statements were “very appropriate” or “somewhat appropriate,” while 14 percent had no opinion.
“The Super Bowl is definitely the wrong place to make a statement,” Morning Consult CEO Michael Ramlet told The Wall Street Journal’s CMO Today.
The Super Bowl regularly ranks as the most-watched television event of the year, providing brands with an opportunity to reach more than 100,000 million viewers at once. A cost of a 30-second commercial spot has exceeded $5 million in recent years.
Republicans were more likely to oppose political statements in Super Bowl ads, with 80 percent saying that it was inappropriate for brands to take political stances, compared to just 57 percent of Democrats.
The survey found that 16 percent of respondents said even watching the Super Bowl was a political act, while 22 percent said companies have a moral obligation to end their NFL sponsorships. The league has faced criticism in recent years for its handling of player national anthem protests against social injustice, as well as several instances of violence involving players.
Morning Consult polled 2,201 adults from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Super Bowl LIII takes place on Feb. 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.