Airbnb gets political at Superbowl

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By Nicole Belair, Staff Writer

If you thought that the Super Bowl would be four hours of relief from all of the chaos and politics that we are constantly surrounded by, you would have been wrong.

Super Bowl LI was politically charged in many ways, from commercials, to Lady Gaga’s halftime performance, to Brady and Belichick’s underlying support for President Trump. But there was one political statement that stood out among the rest, and that was Airbnb’s “We Accept” commercial.

Airbnb, a home-sharing network, made a clear statement during the big game with an equality-themed ad in support of the company’s #WEACCEPT campaign.

The ad spoke for itself: “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.”

Which leads me back to my main point: if you thought the Super Bowl would be politics-free, you would be mistaken.

Airbnb has been under fire recently, as it has been criticized for racial bias among its users.

This fall, the company was forced to respond to these complaints and defend the brand. Airbnb strengthened its nondiscrimination policy and now offers implicit bias training to its hosts. This commercial also comes in the midst of President Trump’s hateful rhetoric toward immigrants, Muslims,  and women. By encouraging this diversity, support, and acceptance, the commercial seems to be a blatant contradiction of Trump’s recent executive orders.

Airbnb is one major company that has been adamantly opposed to Trump’s policies.

Its CEO, Brian Chesky, has recently vocalized his opposition. According to The New York Times, Chesky sent a memo to the company a couple of weeks ago regarding Trump’s immigration ban, stating, “This is a policy I profoundly disagree with, and it is a direct obstacle at Airbnb.”

That same weekend, Airbnb started providing free and subsidized temporary housing for people who were affected by the travel restrictions.

I see this commercial as a respectful, classy protest of Trump’s actions. It’s not in your face, and doesn’t directly bash Trump; it simply shares the message that Airbnb is accepting and supportive of everyone, no matter who you are or where you come from.

Another element of the commercial that I find interesting is that there is almost no indication of who the commercial belongs to.

The only way viewers knew it was an Airbnb ad was their tiny logo appearing at the end of the thirty seconds. This subtlety speaks volumes to me, and shows that the message Airbnb is trying to get out there transcends the company itself. At the same time, Airbnb is using the message to promote brand recognition and build a positive reputation as a company of supportive, accepting employees.

In my opinion, the commercial was both a statement that America needed to see, and a brilliant marketing strategy.

Clearly I am in support of what many media outlets have called a “last minute Super Bowl ad” by Airbnb, but Twitter users had mixed reviews. Many tweeted out their support of the #WEACCEPT campaign and called it the best ad of the night. Others called the commercial “liberal propaganda,” or twisted the hashtag to mean “#WEACCEPT Trump as our president.” From what I could tell, though, most of the reactions were positive, and people are continuously using the hashtag to spread the word about the company and the campaign.

People are still talking about Airbnb’s ad over a week later, and it stands out among the best commercials of Super Bowl LI. After seeing their ad and learning more about #WEACCEPT, I firmly stand with Airbnb and their campaign.

Photo Courtesy: The Washington Post


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