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Family-Unfriendly Super Bowl Ads

posted by Nell Minow

Families who want to enjoy the Super Bowl together might want to turn off the television during the ads.  The commercials now get almost as much press as the game itself.  But Common Sense Media reports that this year’s ads are “sexy, violent, and shocking.”

With more than 100 million viewers on game day — and ads costing nearly $4 million — advertisers are willing to do just about anything to get attention. A lot of the ads will be fun and light. But many will be wildly age inappropriate for kids.

Here’s just a sampling of what you can expect. Gildan Activewear’s ad shows a man waking up, Hangover-style, confused by the fur handcuffs dangling from his wrist. Anheuser-Busch employs a sequin-clad model to introduce its new beer. And Kraft Foods’ Mio water drops features Tracy Morgan unleashing a stream of bleeped-out expletives that leave little to the imagination.

It’s always a good idea to talk to kids about the ways that ads try to make us buy things we do not really need, even things that are not good for us.  But in the case of these commercials, it may be better to skip them entirely.



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Amanda J.

    I stopped watching the Super Bowl the year that Janet Jackson did the half-time show. My young daughter was sitting right next to me on the couch. We were sincerely horrified. She said to me, “What just happened?” It lead to a wonderful learning discussion. I just wish we hadn’t had to have it. We don’t have network/cable/satellite television, so I’ll just wait until the commercials are on YouTube. Or not watch them at all, LOL!

    • Nell Minow

      The only one I thought was worth watching was the Clydesdales, which brought a tear to my eye. Other than that, not worth the trouble. Some were clever and touching but exploitive. Go Daddy was offensive, as usual.

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