The Super Bowl marks the perfect opportunity for brands to showcase their latest big-budget commercials. Yet when faced with a divisive political environment, marketers had to choose wisely on what message they wanted to get across.
With 30-second TV spots having cost a reported $5 million each, marketers have to decide what will draw in consumers; and that could be celebrity appearances, brand-new designs or opting for a more thought-provoking tone.
Whether advertisers intended to address politics or not, some of this year's ads were seen as touching upon areas that could be connected to current topical debates.
"It should be noted that the concept of the Super Bowl commercials is being determined and executed months before the game," Dr. Ayalla Ruvio, assistant professor at the Department of Marketing, Broad College of Business, Michigan State University, told CNBC via email.
"Political changes, such the ones that we are currently experiencing, might shift the way the public perceived these messages. Issues that traditionally were viewed as positive and even mainstream can be challenged and become controversial."
Since President Donald Trump was sworn-in just over two weeks ago, a raft of executive orders have been signed, including those connected to immigration, while parts of the White House website have been modified to highlight the new administration's stance on topics like climate change.