Watch the five most politically controversial Super Bowl ads of all time

Super Bowl advertisements have a long history of attracting political controversies, and this year is no different.

While the match-up between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants will be country’s focus on Sunday, the high-priced ads during the game will come in a close second. And in an election year, the odds are that there will be some ads that stir up political controversy.

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Friday denied a request from anti-abortion rights activist Randall Terry to force a Chicago television station to run his ad during Sunday's Super Bowl.

Terry, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president to attract attention to the anti-abortion cause, filed a complaint with the FCC after WMAQ Chicago, an NBC affiliate, refused to run his ad.

Jason Rose, a public relations expert in Arizona and partner of the firm Rose, Moser and Allyn, said the sheer size of the Super Bowl audience drives companies to take a risk in advertising.

“If every advertiser has spots that look like Tide commercials, they're going to fall flat and they're not going to make their mark,” he said, adding that a bit of provocativeness can “cut through the clutter.”

President Obama didn’t advertise during the Super Bowl in his 2008 run for the White House. But his campaign benefitted from a devastating ad that remixed one of the most famous Super Bowl ads ever.


Adapting the “1984” Apple ad that premiered during the Super Bowl 28 years ago, an Obama fan’s video showed a blond female athlete throwing a sledgehammer at a huge screen of then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) talking to people who appear brainwashed.

The ad, which only appeared on the Internet, ended with this message: “On Jan. 14, the Democratic primary will begin. And you’ll see why 2008 won’t be like 1984.

Over the last decade, there have been a handful of ads that have prompted outrage from politicians and political groups. A list of them follows. 

Watch these Super Bowl ads: 
Pepsi Max |Focus on the Family
Sales Genie | Snickers | MoveOn

Brendan Sasso contributed to this story.

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