Battle of the billionaires: Bloomberg & Trump duel in Super Bowl

Super Bowl games may be infamous for the audacity of the advertising that many viewers actually prefer watching over the American football championship itself.

Every year, the content and the price of commercial air time are the main subjects of conversation on Monday morning after the Big Game.

But this year, the Fox network’s broadcast of Sunday’s contest between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs is unique – not because of the sports rivalry – but due to the political nature of two prominent ad buys from United States President Donald Trump and Mike Bloomberg, a Democratic candidate running against the incumbent in 2020.

Both Trump and Bloomberg are New York City billionaires with pockets deep enough to dominate the airwaves, though to be sure the latter has about 16 times more wealth and is self-financing his campaign.

Bloomberg, the former NYC mayor who made his fortune selling financial data, has pledged to spend generously through November – even if he personally does not receive the Democratic nomination.

Trump, who has raised millions through the Republican National Committee, has already generated a war chest of more than $100m and repeatedly criticised Bloomberg’s liberal TV budget.

‘Unprecedented increase’
Bloomberg’s ad aiming to one-up the president does not mention Trump at all.

Trump has two spots, one of which is a 30-second ad running early in the game that was prereleased.

Along with other Super Bowl ads by Amazon and SodaStream, both videos were uploaded to YouTube on Thursday – with Trump’s earning considerably more views thus far.

Industry publication Ad Age reported that Fox said it is isolating the political ads so that other commercials – whether about avocados or pickup trucks – do not appear in the same game breaks. Network promos are airing alongside them instead.

Rather than the usual content about cars, soft drinks or mobile phones, the two Fox ad buys – TV’s most expensive at over $10m each – carry deeply polarising messages.

Sunday’s telecast is the first time a national political ad will be seen by the bulk of households across the US in the top annual TV event. Presidential candidates have run ads before during the Super Bowl, but only in certain states. Around 100 million viewers are expected to watch in the US alone.

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