Only 1 of Trump’s 2 Proposed Super Bowl Ads Ran During the Game

After a late strategy change, his second commercial aired in the 'post-gun' pod

president trump sitting with his finger on his head
The Trump campaign said it would be running two ads during the Super Bowl, but only one spot actually aired in-game. Getty Images
Headshot of Sara Jerde

As it turns out, Donald Trump’s “60-second Super Bowl buy” wasn’t really a 60-second Super Bowl buy after all.

The president had a 30-second campaign spot that appeared in the first quarter of the game centered on Alice Johnson, who was granted clemency in 2018.

The second 30-second commercial did not air until minutes after the game ended, before the Vince Lombardi Trophy was presented. Official Super Bowl spots are defined as advertisements that run between kickoff and when the clock runs out.

Initially, the Trump re-election campaign had intended to run a 60-second Super Bowl spot, but later decided to split the buy into two 30-second ads. At that point, the only way Fox could accommodate the campaign’s request was to air one 30-second ad during the game and run the second spot minutes after its conclusion, in what’s known as the “post-gun” ad pod.

It’s not clear how much of that decision making was based around Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg’s announcement a month ago that he was also buying 60 seconds of ad time during the Super Bowl.

It’s not uncommon for brands to make last-minute decisions to back out of the Super Bowl entirely or to decrease the length of their spots, but the Trump campaign’s decision is particularly notable because of the unprecedented nature of a politician taking out a Big Game ad in the first place, and following the public way he proclaimed his Super Bowl presences.

Bloomberg’s ad ran in full as planned after halftime.

The Bloomberg campaign released its full ad on Thursday, and hours later, Trump released a 30-second commercial that was advertised by the campaign at the time as “one of two history-making 30-second spots the campaign will run during the game.” That ad, which touted what were postured as the successes of Trump’s presidency, ultimately ran after the game ended.

A Trump campaign spokeswoman didn’t immediately return requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Bloomberg tweeted this in response to our story.

TV editor Jason Lynch contributed to this report.

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@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.