WeatherTech Says Its Latest Patriotic Super Bowl Ad Isn’t Meant to Be Provocative

CEO David MacNeil discusses his fifth appearance in the game

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Vehicle accessories brand WeatherTech’s fifth consecutive Super Bowl ad plays on a familiar theme: American products made by American workers in American facilities.

As founder and CEO David MacNeil put it to Adweek on Wednesday: “Our spot this year doesn’t have dogs, no models, no stunts, no jokes; we don’t even have voiceover.” What the 30-second ad, which will run during the first half of Sunday’s game, does have in abundance is footage of construction workers building the walls of the company’s newest facility in Bolingbrook, Ill., beneath a billowing American flag.

“It’s an unconventional ad,” MacNeil told Adweek, “[but] it contains one of the most important messages one can convey: We’re building a new factory in America.”

Some viewers might see a deeper political message at work in the spot, particularly given its focus on building walls, which for some may evoke President Trump’s desire for a border wall with Mexico. But MacNeil dismissed any such connection, saying the ad has nothing to do with immigration and is not meant to be controversial.

“Tying building a wall for a factory that will employ my fellow American citizens … [to] a proposed wall on the southern border with Mexico is absolutely ridiculous,” he said.

But while it’s not meant to be anti-immigrant, MacNeil did say the ad is certainly pro-American worker. “Aren’t we supposed to put America first, and put our own citizens first? If my neighbor doesn’t have a job, then soon I won’t have a job,” he said.

Referencing other companies, he added: “When you displace that factory and put it in a country far, far away, those jobs disappear. All to save 50 cents on a tape measure or something else made overseas. When factories get to disregard wage standards and living standards, pollution and safety standards, of course they can make things for less money. But who wants to support a factory that’s polluting the air, the water and the land?”

WeatherTech’s in-house media team created the ad as part of a marketing mix that has proven successful for the company since it began placing Super Bowl ads five years ago.

“Every year, we have witnessed increased traffic to our web site, phone center, and network of distributors worldwide,” said MacNeil. “Our company is 27 years old, and we’re continuing to grow, thank goodness.”

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.