If The Government Did A Super Bowl Ad What Should It Be?

This morning I woke up and read an interesting post about whether an advertisement could help change government perception. I don’t know if the answer is a yes or no even though personally I think that it can’t do anything but help but that’s not the question I’m really asking. Rather I want to know what ideas you have for a government Super Bowl Ad.

Let’s assume the government has one 60 second spot during halftime of the Super Bowl. What should we highlight? What should be in the commercial?

Get creative here!

My suggestion would center around “Chicks Dig Govies” and making a funny commercial around making government cool again.

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That would be awesome if OPM did a really cool one about public service. Why important, what people do.

Would be great if it was “A day without govies” – that thread we had earlier about how gov’t affects your life every day.

Census did one last year that was pretty solid. Military I could imagine as well as advertise a lot.

Dannielle Blumenthal

ok then here’s a cut & paste of my idea (comment from the other page)

<<If I could do the commercial I’d throw out three suggestions

1) either take an actual retired govie or

2) get a range of respected leaders to contribute to a group commercial, although that would get political fast or

3) hire an actor as brand spokesperson. Someone older, wiser, with a sense of humor. William Shatner. Maya Angelou. If he were still alive, the founder of Wendy’s, Dave Thomas. Someone like that.>>

I think if we did “a day without govies” it might end up like “Mr. Mom” – when the mom goes back to work the family sometimes actually has more fun…not sure we actually want to float that particular concept.

Someone posted a comment at LinkedIn where she said she liked American University’s ad campaign (the one where they say they’re WONKs and proud of it). I agreed w/ her. Gov isn’t cool. We’re mature and stable and smart. (I mean, some of us are cool. But I don’t see that as our brand…wouldn’t want to build a whole ad campaign around it.)

If you think of this in terms of food. It’s the main course that sustains your health. Not the dessert. Government’s image IMO should be the meatloaf (veggie cutlets, whatever). Not chocolate cake. We may all want to be the chocolate cake because that’s what’s popular, but in the end you can live without that. Government can buy forward-thinking, but we can’t buy the dedication or integrity that really does keep the system going despite all its foibles.


Agree – I like the Wonks campaign.

To me, military does a good job of keeping their brand and don’t try too hard to be cool but emphasize their strengths.

To me, key is tie into “JFK call to service”, NASA man on moon, and tons of things like that. Inspirational, do-gooder

Darren Sherrard

Actually, last year the Census Bureau ran one, does that count? It was criticized as overkill, however, the 2010 Census to my knowledge was a success and came in under budget; due in part to its marketing plan.
The truth be told, too many risks to do such a thing, unless the airtime is donated by the Network. The cost would be viewed by most as a waste of Taxpayer funds and defeat the purpose.
If it were to happen, indeed, it could be used as a mechanism to bring an American Sport and Patriotism back together. The country needs unity and a new respect for Government. Cool or not.

Wendy Cantu

Darren took the words right out of my mouth. Super Bowl ads are notoriously expensive and taxpayers would view it as wasteful and unnecessary spending. Instead, I’d be more impressed with the government effectively utilizing more “free” social media outlets.

Stephen Peteritas

Just a side note but I’m more just saying “what if” not necessarily endorsing the gov’t “wasting” tax payer dollars

Peter Sperry

I would open with a video from Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address —

“Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it is not my intention to do away with government. It is, rather, to make it work—work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.”

Then cut to a video from President Obama’s 2010 remarks at University of Michigan Spring Commencement —

“The democracy designed by Jefferson and the other founders was never intended to solve every problem with a new law or a new program. Having thrown off the tyranny of the British Empire, the first Americans were understandably skeptical of government. And ever since we’ve held fast to the belief that government doesn’t have all the answers, and we have cherished and fiercely defended our individual freedom. That’s a strand of our nation’s DNA.”

Then end with a voice over — “We are all Americans who love our country with views that are not that far apart. Let’s move forward together”

@Dannielle — I wouldn’t worry about the distinction between informing and propagandizing. Government started ignoring those restrictions sometime during Washington’s first term.

Wendy Cantu

@Stephen – Of course. Apologies if my comment appeared to miss the point of the “what if” scenario. I understand this is not an actual plan or expenditure. Perhaps I’ve been in the government scene too long if I first think about public perception even on a project asked for creativity?

In any case, I would create an ad that highlighted ways government entities are conserving energy and resources as well as creating “green” jobs. I would like to see quick statements from people in their field of work talking about what they are doing to meet these new goals. It would be simple and honest.

Terrence (Terry) Hill

I’d like to see the Partnership for Public Service (http://www.ourpublicservice.org/) issue a “Call to Service” using examples of Feds who have made a difference (SAMMIE winners). That way, it isn’t any one Federal agency or employees who are self-promoting. I’d like to see a collage of those who serve in a variety of capacities – from park rangers, to military, to Peace Corps and Americorps volunteers.

Cindy Conn

Since the main perception of the gover(YAWN)ment is boring and staggering, I would make it upbeat, eyecatching and keep politics (and politicians) out of it. We, the people, who truly make up the government should do it…maybe a “SuperBowl” Shuffle? Let the citizens know that the government is made up of real people, doing real jobs, not living off the taxpayers fat.

Tamara Saltman

I think most people know government does things they like, but to an individual it also often feels big, powerful, and not-really-under their control. And most people’s regular interactions with government at any level (e.g. going to the DMV, getting your name changed at the SS office, filing taxes) still have lots of room for improvement. So I’m thinking a Superbowl ad describing some great ideas people have come up with about how one or more pieces of government can work better and how they got implemented, and asking everyone watching to submit their own ideas via email, video, snail mail, twitter, etc. (Then, of course, someone has to look through them and figure out how to implement the good ones.)

Big Picture Inc

I think the commercial would have to be broken into a subgroup of “the government” because, as Tamara mentions, it sounds too big (probably because government involves many people in many different fields). An Old Spice commercial spoof would be a safe choice (if it’s not already too overdone!). Look at your government, now back to mine. Sadly, this isn’t your government…

Daniel Crystal

It should be something like the “Halftime in America” commercial that aired a few years ago. Focus on the federal employees that actually help citizens and highlight the ways we’re helping economic recovery and improving quality of life for everybody.

Fred Gross

Up comes a video of the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court Building… Music playing in the background from the Marine Corps Band… Up scrolls the following words:

“Government: If you think Our Problems are terrible,

Just wait until you see our Solutions …”

Fill in all the supporting video for yourself. I think that part would be easy to imagine…

Janina Rey Echols Harrison

Wendy is onto something. Every time I come across something the government is doing that I think is great, it gets posted on my Facebook page and I can see it get reposted many times. Spread the word!

A friend of mine works for VA and posts programs that they are doing to help vets in various areas, so I always repost those to get the information out to as many vets as might be on my FB.

Regardless of what level of government you work for, if your group is up to something incredible, post it. Also, ask for ideas. After all, everyone on your FB, Twitter or whatever is a citizen. Engage them!

Terrence (Terry) Hill

I can’t believe this posting is from 2 years ago! Still a timely topic in 2013. The best commercial would be a picture of the world without government – use Somalia as the background. Pollution reigns, lawlessness is rampant, infrastructure is crumbling, and mobs rule. Maybe use a split screen showing that thanks to the government, we have relatively clean air, water, parks, and infrastructure. We are also realatively safe and secure, despite periodic lapses.

The problem is that government is prohibited from using tax dollars to promote itself. That’s why organizations like the Partnership for Public Service are our only hope for telling our story.

Mariann Cook Andrews

I’m imagining something like “A day without government”:

Guy goes to the kitchen for coffee, turns on the tap and nothing comes out

Voiceover: Without government, would the water keep coming?

Goes out to his driveway, and the paved road disappears

Voiceover: Without government, would the roads still be there?


Ends with him facing the camera, questioning look on his face

Voiceover: Without government, what could you depend on?