The Mass Media & the Public Sphere
Every year over 100 million people tune into the annual championship game of the national football league, where the two highest level professional football teams of the season battle each other in hopes of attaining the super bowl trophy. Many people even consider this day as a national holiday due the event’s ability to unite family and friends together to celebrate the “Big Game”. Many people who typically aren’t even football fans still gather and watch the game at their homes, hosting Super Bowl parties and viewing the game on large home televisions. Not only is Super Bowl Sunday the second largest day of food consumption in the United States but one of the most essential days in which companies are able to advertise their products to a mass amount of people. What people are consuming during this massive event is a strong representation of public life in western culture.
Super bowl commercials have become then main attraction for some people who aren’t particularly huge football fans. A wide range of commercials are played throughout the event such as Doritos, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Cars, electronics, movies, and more. The reason why a majority of the commercials are about junk/social foods; pitching foods high in calories, sugar, fat, and fun, and it’s to trigger the consumption and preference of these products. And it works, the advertising companies make an attractive brand/product surrounding by attractive/appealing things to make us like it at a subconscious level. The messages are affected by the form of its medium, and when these products are associated with emotionally manipulative content they are able to persuade our perception on the product or brand.
We can interpret both positively and negatively on how it contributes to a sense of public life. There is synergy between the super bowl ads and the menu at super bowl parties. This means the viewers have more of an interest to certain products during the super bowl and consumption of these products is at its peak in relation with the events programs and advertisements. Alcohol, easy to eat finger foods, sodas, and snacks are what a many of these commercials consist of and during the Super Bowl event, these items are served buffet style. You can interpret what is being consumed negatively because the junk foods being consumed can show that the people are unhealthy themselves. With large amount of alcohol being consumed as well, dramatic increase in drunk driving has also been a result. However, this annual event allows people to feel connected and socialize while they eat and watch the big game. People feel good, eating comfort foods and watching live entertainment with their friends and family.
The Super Bowl event itself promotes competition between groups of people. While people are divided depending on their favorite team they are rooting for, Super Bowl Sunday does bring people together that may have cultural or national differences. “Collective public viewing can interpolate viewers as part of a national audience.” (Sturken and Cartwright) Although people tend to choose a side during the super bowl and one team has to win, people are being brought together to view the national event.
Super Bowl Sunday promotes the feeling of connectedness among its audience. It brings everyone together to laugh, cry, scream, and shout, as they watch this eventful spectacle that inspires awe. Not only is this event a victory for the winning team of the super bowl, but also a victory for brands that were able to advertise in the super bowl marketing. Mass culture is combined by mass media to share interests in what’s being consumed, both visually and physically. Advertisement companies must invest millions of dollars to place in a spot to advertise their products to millions of viewers in hopes of generating awareness and profit in the future. But it’s the dynamics of the Super Bowl game and the sensations brought upon from the event that allow people to socially come together annually.