Should Super Bowl advertisers get half of their money back?

It is unclear whether pop star Lady Gaga will use the biggest stage in the world on Sunday to lecture American football fans on politics. She has so far remained silent about her intentions amid speculation that the singer will speak out against newly elected President Trump’s policies.

Lady Gaga

AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Gaga was a staunch and vocal Hillary Clinton supporter and made an impromptu protest following Trump’s election by hanging off of a NYC garbage truck with an American flag tied to her waist, holding a sign that read “Love trumps hate.”

Frankly, I’m not sure what disturbs me more about that little outburst. The blatant disrespect for the country’s flag or Gaga’s seemingly ignorant stance that American elections are about ‘love’; not candidates and the votes they receive.

On the other hand, I thought her performance of The Star-Spangled Banner at last year’s Super Bowl was magnificent. Regardless, I’m straying off topic.

The new bully pulpit

Gaga certainly wouldn’t be the first entertainer to preach their politics to the masses assembled for an event that couldn’t (and shouldn’t) be more apolitical.

A lot of people were disturbed by Beyonce’s militant performance of her anti-police “Formation” during last year’s Super Bowl halftime show; specifically by the timing amid rising racial and law enforcement tension throughout the country.

Social media lit up with cries of boycotting the NFL, Beyonce and sponsors associated with the league. The National Sheriffs Association and the largest union within the New Jersey State Police were the first law enforcement agencies to voice their “shock and disgust” at the Black Panther inspired performance.

The NFL is willfully ignorant

“The Super Bowl is a time when people really come together. Lady Gaga is focused on putting together an amazing show for fans and we love working with her on it.”  NFL spokesman quoted in a Fox News article.

How can the NFL explain describing the big game as “a time when people really come together” and their actions choosing halftime performers that they know are going to make inflammatory, divisive statements?

While we don’t know for sure what Gaga has planned, the NFL sure does, as they knew what Beyonce’s performance entailed by way of pregame rehearsals.

The halftime switch 

Online petitions, tweets and social media posts litter the internet calling for all manner of boycotts, replacement performers and advertiser repudiation. My solution is much easier; I call it the ‘halftime switch.”

I will simply not watch Fox for the duration of halftime. This is a key free market principle in action – If I do not like what you are selling, I will not buy it. As witnessed by the election of Donald Trump, there are a whole lot of folks who don’t like what Gaga is selling either.

If over half the country decides to switch off Fox during the halftime show because they simply don’t care to be preached at by a pop singer whose political views are in the minority, should advertisers demand millions in recompense for the loss of ad impressions promised to them? How much are companies willing to spend on a Super Bowl commercial that may not be seen by millions of their targeted audience?

The bigger question though, is this: With the apparent growing dissatisfaction of the Super Bowl halftime show, does the NFL even care?

John Floyd

About John Floyd

John is a U.S Army veteran and lives on a small homestead in northeast Maine. His passion for the outdoors and love of country are the influences behind his columns and blogs.