What to Watch For in the Super Bowl

First of all, the game should be good, and the teams are relatively new to the national spotlight. (“What do the Super Bowl and the Democratic presidential field have in common? No Patriots!”) I am not one of those who think the commercials are more interesting than the game; on the contrary, to the extent I watch them, I often find myself scratching my head over what product or service is being advertised.

But this year, there will be some ads, at least, whose purpose can’t be misconstrued:

About 100 million Americans will tune in for the Super Bowl battle between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs [Sunday] but some in Washington will be watching out for the other showdown: Donald Trump vs Michael Bloomberg.

The two biggest spenders in US politics have each forked out $11 million for a 60-second slice of the world’s most expensive television advertising pie, the first time that presidential candidates have bought into the showpiece finale of the American football season.

It looks like there will be two ads for each candidate. One of the Trump ads won’t be unveiled until Sunday; the other, I previewed here. It is so good, it is worth watching again:

I look forward to seeing the second Trump ad. Meanwhile, what is on offer from Bloomberg?

The stakes are higher for Mr Bloomberg, 77, the media-to-finance billionaire who is not competing in the first four caucus and primary contests for the Democratic presidential nomination but banking on a breakthrough later in the process, fuelled by an enormous advertising budget. His team believe that their advert, narrated by a mother whose football-fanatic son was shot dead aged 20, will “stop people in their tracks” amid “the dancing raisins and souped-up cars” that are usually shown during breaks in the game.

Bloomberg will score well among Democratic voters who believe that 1) what America needs more than anything is more laws constraining gun ownership, and 2) the prisons should be emptied of thousands of violent criminals. Seems like a weird combination, but there are quite a few Democrats who thread that needle. And we shouldn’t forget: 3) What size soda containers you buy is the government’s urgent business.

Be that as it may, I doubt that Bloomberg’s ad will come close to matching the proud, optimistic spirit of the Trump ad we have seen so far. Or, I am pretty sure, the top-secret second ad we will see on Sunday.

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