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 airtime for the 60-second Super Bowl ad, which was produced by Siegel Strategies, was secured after the campaign learned that President Trump had also purchased time.
The commercial was released across Bloomberg’s social channels and focuses on Bloomberg’s candidacy as a person who will fight for gun control. 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. Trump is not mentioned in the ad 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 truth” 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.
The ads have raised questions about what this could mean for future presidential elections in terms of political spending, whether they see the Super Bowl, a 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 are predicting up to $20 billion will be spent this presidential cycle, 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.