During the recent Super Bowl, viewers were presented with a presidential campaign ad that may have struck a chord of nostalgia among those familiar with political campaigns of the past. The ad, funded by the super PAC American Values 2024, was for Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a figure who has entered the 2024 presidential race as an independent candidate. This particular advertisement closely mirrored a campaign ad from 1960, utilized by JFK, RFK Jr.’s uncle, drawing a direct lineage between the two Kennedys’ political ambitions.
The ad itself is a modern rendition of a classic, featuring the same catchy tune that chants “Kennedy” throughout, set against a collection of images reminiscent of JFK’s era. However, it introduces a contemporary twist with RFK Jr.’s image and campaign messages, all while maintaining the vintage aesthetic of the original. This approach not only pays homage to a pivotal moment in American political history but also seeks to connect the Kennedy legacy with present-day electoral ambitions.
Family Responses and Political Discourse
The decision to repurpose iconic imagery and slogans from JFK’s campaign has not been without controversy. Bobby Shriver, RFK Jr.’s cousin, publicly criticized the ad, expressing concern over its use of family images and questioning RFK Jr.’s stance on healthcare issues, a topic of significant importance to the Kennedy family legacy. Shriver’s remarks underscore a broader debate within the family and among the public regarding the alignment of RFK Jr.’s political views with those of his forebears.
In response to the backlash, RFK Jr. apologized to his family, clarifying that the creation and airing of the ad were actions undertaken by the American Values Super PAC without his direct involvement, highlighting the regulatory barriers preventing candidate coordination with super PAC activities. This situation has sparked conversations about the influence of super PACs in political campaigns and the complexities of familial legacies in public service.
The Broader Impact of Super Bowl Political Ads
The inclusion of a political campaign ad during the Super Bowl, a time traditionally reserved for commercial enterprises and entertainment, marks a notable intersection of politics and popular culture. With CBS Sports pricing a 30-second ad slot at $7 million, the decision by American Values 2024 to invest in this high-profile exposure reflects the significant role media plays in contemporary political campaigns.