Cellular phone company T-Mobile took a strong political stance Sunday with a Super Bowl commercial that had nothing to do with mobile phones.
The ad, narrated by liberal actress Kerry Washington, suggested that today’s infants will grow up to promote equality, in part by demanding “fair and equal pay” and loving “who (they) want.”
As Washington spoke, the camera panned over a diverse group of babies, as a lullaby version of Nirvana’s “All Apologies” played in the background. The minute-long commercial was titled, “Change starts here.”
“Welcome to the world little ones,” Washington said at the start of the ad.
“You come with open minds and the instinct that we are equal,” she continued. “Some people may see your differences and be threatened by them, but you are unstoppable. You’ll love who you want; you’ll demand fair and equal pay; you will not allow where you come from to dictate where you’re going.”
“Change starts here,” Washington concluded.
As noted by the Washington Examiner, the ad stood out, as many of the companies who paid to air commercials during Super Bowl LII avoided politics altogether.
T-Mobile’s choice to take a stance, though, seemed to be an intentional one.
“Brands have an important role in changing culture,” Nick Drake, T-Mobile’s executive vice president of marketing, told The Wall Street Journal. “There is always going to be some risk with these things, but we think this subject matter is something everybody can agree on.”
In a blog post on the company’s website, T-Mobile CEO John Legere noted that the company chose to air the ad because “this moment in history calls for something different.”
Legere emphasized that his company takes pride in listening to its customers, no matter their “economic class, race, sex, creed, gender identity, sexual orientation.”
This year, we wanted to use our #SuperBowl airtime to share that @TMobile believes we all started in the same place. We are more alike than different. And we are unstoppable. pic.twitter.com/piNDVYloAN
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) February 5, 2018
Our customers are America. And there’s a more important conversation they’re having right now,” he said, adding, “We wanted to use our airtime to further that conversation by making this simple point: We all started in the same place. We are more alike than different.”
But at least on Twitter, many users claimed the T-Mobile ad’s message was unnecessarily politically charged. Some even suggested that T-Mobile was simply “pandering” to liberals.
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) February 5, 2018
Worst commercial award: @TMobile by far.
Americans are tired of people politicizing sports. It’s one area where Americans can come together and @TMobile says nope.
It will backfire on them.
— Dr. Milton Wolf (@MiltonWolfMD) February 5, 2018
Don't use babies to spew DEMOCRAT talking points.
DEMOCRATS kill babies
Everyone knows that.
That's why there were no babies with down syndrome or cleft lips or other disabilities.
DEMOCRATS deem them unworthy of life & kill them in the womb.#boycotttmobile
— Mrs. Wise (@gwtiawah) February 5, 2018
Others pointed out irony in the fact that T-Mobile was able to air their commercial, but the NFL rejected an ad from a veterans group that encouraged fans to stand during the playing of the national anthem.
Hey @NFL, why did you allow that @TMobile ad but not this one for the #SuperBowl?#PleaseStand for our anthem was all that @AMVETSHQ wanted to say @AMVETSNatlCmdr Marion Polk says the NFL made this political.
— CRTV (@CRTV) February 5, 2018
It’s far from the first time Legere has become embroiled in controversy. In April 2015, he got into a Twitter argument with then-businessman Donald Trump after the real estate magnate said T-Mobile’s service was “terrible.” (For more from the author of “This Ad Might Have Been the Most Politically Charged Commercial of the Entire Super Bowl” please click HERE)