During this year’s Super Bowl 51 (the annual championship game of the National Football League in the US), AirBnB debuted a deeply important new ad. One of the last companies to purchase a coveted spot in the annual advertorial showdown, the commercial was a subtle but poignant jab at the newly elected US president Donald Trump’s immigration ban and border wall proposal.
Simple yet powerful, the 30-second clip has become one of the most talked about commercials of the night since it aired. Featuring an array of diverse individuals and a gently melodic soundtrack, text conveying the short term lodging company’s strong message of unity floats over the rainbow montage of faces:
"We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept."
According to CNBC, the commercial was personally edited by company heads Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky, and Nathan Blecharczyk. The three co-founders had just a few days to cut and edit the final product using existing footage acquired during a 2016 campaign highlighting AirBnB's non-discriminatory user agreement. It has since become the third most shared Super Bowl ad this year online.
“We know this is an idealistic notion that faces huge obstacles because of something that also seems simple, but isn’t - that not everyone is accepted. People who’ve been displaced, whether because of war or conflict or other factors, are acutely vulnerable to not being accepted,” Gebbia, Chesky, and Blecharczyk wrote. “They are, quite literally, in need of a place to belong, which is why we’ve been inspired to take action.”
The airing of the ad corresponded with a renewed commitment from the company to provide short-term housing over the next five years for 100 000 people in need, as well as a planned $4 million donation to the International Rescue Committee. Built upon the ethos of shared hospitality, AirBnB’s Super Bowl ad is a visual demonstration of their genuine commitment to both their principles and the multiculturalism of America.