Monday, February 15, 2016

Guest Post at Socializing Finance: Super Bowl's New Money


I have a guest post at the international blog, Socializing Finance.  The post reflects on the Super Bowl... America's best watched state of the union show.  In particular, I focus on PayPal commercial that ran during event (embedded above). 

An except is below, check out the post in full here.

The Super Bowl is a favorite American pastime.  Akin to asking someone if they will watch the event is equivalent to ensuring someone has a warm home in which to share the holidays. 
In general, 1/3 of America watches the football-sporting event every year. Super Bowl 50, garnered 114 million viewers.  For comparison, 126 million viewers turned out for the 2012 presidential election. 
I consider the Super Bowl as a type of ‘State of the Union.”  The commercials, halftime show, network’s computer graphics depict a good portion of America’s consciousness at that moment.  It reflects what Americans’ value, their hopes and their fears. 
This snapshot in time and heightened public attention (a whopping 4+ hours) is of great value and symbolizes common ground.  Consider a 30 sec commercial slot during the 1st Super Bowl in 1967 sold for $298,045 (in 2015 US dollars) whereas, the same time allotment last week sold $5M. 
Hence, BudLight ran a commercial referencing America’s polarized Congress to begin a discussion about the things America agrees on: comedians, raunchy innuendoes (big ‘cauc’-us, hehe!), and of course cheap beer.  (BudLight’s affiliated beer “family” Budweiser is known for the ever-classic Super Bowl commercial Bud-Weis-Er frogs). 
This year’s Super Bowl took place in San Francisco. 
The event drew out less affluent locals protesting against the reduced accessibility of the city for living, working and enjoyment caused by new concentrations of wealth in the tech industry.  The conditions prevail throughout the Bay Area, including San Jose, home of the “Silicon Valley.”  (I write a bit about this and some of the complexities it surfaces for underlying value conflicts in debates over disaster losses in the US.)
In an era of heightened political concern over income inequality, PayPal’s Super Bowl commercial (above) is brilliant if not also a bit ironic.  PayPal, headquartered in San Jose, aired a 45 second ad cleverly spinning unique concepts of ‘Old Money’ and ‘New Money.’ 
Visit Socializing Finance to read the rest! 

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