In the ongoing tit-for-tat between billionaires running for president, the Michael Bloomberg campaign released its much-awaited Super Bowl ad this morning.
The ad, which addressed gun control, is the presidential hopeful’s latest commercial after several weeks of running ads in battleground states, like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, questioning President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The campaign secured the airtime for the 60-second Super Bowl ad, which Siegel Strategies produced, after learning that President Trump had also purchased time.
The Bloomberg campaign released the ad—which will appear after halftime on Sunday in the game—across its social channels today, showcasing Bloomberg as a person who will fight for gun reform.
The ad, titled “George” tells the story of a man, George Kemp Jr., who was shot and killed, while his mother, Calandrian Simpson Kemp, narrates the ad about her son’s love for football and aspirations of going to the NFL. She explains that she has watched, and believes in, how Bloomberg would fight for reform. The ad does not mention Trump and Bloomberg himself doesn’t appear until the very end, when he endorses the message.
“I chose to devote the entire 60-second ad to gun safety because it matters to communities across the country and it will be a top priority for me as president,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “People will be rooting for different teams in the Super Bowl, but virtually all Americans—including people in both parties and a majority of gun owners—support universal background checks and other common sense gun laws.”
The ad, which cost a little north of $10 million, is just the most recent from Bloomberg, who is running on a slogan of “Fighting for our future” and only joined the presidential race in November. But what he’s lacked in time building up a national organization of volunteers like his other Democratic candidates, he has made up for in advertising, spending $100 million over the last month.
It’s the first time that a presidential candidate, let alone two, bought a spot in the Super Bowl, defined as an advertisement that appears in the game after kickoff and before the clock runs out on the game.
“People might assume a political ad during the Super Bowl might be really political and divisive. This ad is the opposite,” Bloomberg’s national campaign spokesperson, Julie Wood, told Adweek. “It’s about something that is incredibly human and moving and an issue there is broad agreement on.”
The ads raise questions about what this could mean for future presidential elections in terms of political spending, whether candidates will see the Super Bowl, the most expensive ad opportunities that captures a hundred million highly untargeted eyeballs, a must-buy. Is this a product of the bombastic Trump brand? A way to reach a highly fragmented audience in a divided nation? A by-product of an unparalleled amount of money spent in the 2020 race?
Some forecasts predict as much as $10 billion will be spent this presidential election year, as digital ad spending grows substantially and candidates explore new mediums not yet aggressively tested in presidential election years, like OTT.
Bloomberg’s campaign will also make stops as part of a bus tour in battleground states surrounding the Big Game, including in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. It will also roll out videos from survivors of gun violence from 12 states highlighting their stories ahead of National Gun Violence Survivors Week, the first week of February.
Calandrian Simpson Kemp, the woman featured in the ad, is a member of Moms Demand Action, which is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, which Bloomberg helped create.
In deciding what type of ad to put together, the campaign decided that this spot would “cause people to pause and watch this and have a conversation about it,” Wood said, particularly around other ads that might strike “a different tone.”
“We thought it was a really powerful way to introduce him to the country and she speaks so powerfully about her story and her son,” Wood said.