When it comes to visibility, it is hard to beat a Super Bowl ad. Usually, over 100 million people tune into the big game, making it a great opportunity for companies that want to share their message. However, the station running the Super Bowl has a lot of power when it comes to what the viewers ultimately see.
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CBS, the station running the Super Bowl, rejected a few ads this year. One ad that was not allowed to air was from Nine Line, a veteran-owned athletic wear company that pulls in around $25 million annually.
The ad, according to a report by the Washington Examiner, “features soldiers, first responders, and images of military graves decorated with American flags and gives credit to them for protecting the rights of those like Kaepernick to protest.”
Reportedly, CBS told Nine Line that they were worried the company couldn’t afford the $5.25 million price tag that would come with the time slot for the ad, which was titled “Just Stand.” However, a spokesperson for Nine Line asserted that the network objected to the content in the ad, saying it was too “political.”
Nine Line’s ad is sort of take on the 2018 Nike ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former 49er best known for kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest. That Nike ad featured the lines, “So don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they are crazy enough,” and celebrated Kaepernick for his willingness to “sacrifice everything.”
The ad by Nine Line features similar wording, with the lines being narrated by a survivor of the Benghazi, Libya, American consulate attack – where four American officials and the American ambassador lost their lives.
“Don’t ask if your loyalty is crazy,” the Nine Line ad says. “Ask if it’s crazy enough.”
“Some people think you’re crazy for being loyal, defending the Constitution, standing for the flag. Then I guess I’m crazy,” the narrator states while video clips of military personnel and first responders play.
“For those who kneel, they fail to understand that they can kneel, that they can protest, that they can despise what I stand for, even hate the truth that I speak, but they can only do that because I am crazy enough.”
Nine Line was understandably angry about the decision rendered by CBS.
“CBS’s purported reason for rejecting a Super Bowl commercial that extols patriotism is totally out of bounds,” Nine Line’s CEO said in a statement. “Let’s call this what it is: a blatant attempt to censor a message that their politically correct executives find offensive.
“We urge Americans who believe it’s important to show respect for our flag and national anthem to join us in calling out this offensive bias. It’s time to give a penalty flag to CBS.”