How Politics Will Saturate PR for This Year’s Big Game

Ronn Torossian
3 min readFeb 1, 2017


The Super Bowl is always more about the brands than the game. Sure, the winner gets the trophy and the ticker tape parade and the big headline the next day. But the ads and the halftime show dominate the consumer-driven media for weeks after the show.

Did the big act hit or miss? How does it compare to some of the best of the past … or to some of the worst? Was there a left shark or a wardrobe malfunction. Consider that last sentence. Two cultural touchstones that happened in a few scant seconds but left an indelible mark.

The Super Bowl is big risk and big reward for performers. Beyonce came out last year and polarized a consumer market that was about to become the angriest and most unruly electorate in recent memory. In past years, the performance itself was all that was judged. Set pieces and performance art was pointed to — remember Prince’s shadow “guitar” — and laughed at or cheered. But now everything has an added layer of nuance in a country that seems to have forgotten how to just let it go and have a good time.

There is no way a performer can get away with just performing. The “message” will be front and center. So, the NFL, whether being totally tone deaf or devilishly clever, picked a headliner that is certain to highlight the socio-political message aspect of today’s big game halftime show. They invited Lady Gaga, a performer adored by legions of left-leaning fans and virulently hated by the demographic the NFL needs the most.

Hoping to rise above the divide, the “Lady” herself is leaking rumors about her performance that have nothing to do with content. There’s currently a totally unconfirmed but viral rumor that Gaga will perform from atop the stadium. Whether this happens or not, you can bet it will get eyes on the action … if only for a moment.

Whether Lady Gaga can keep them watching is all up to her. There’s no doubt the songstress has the pipes and the performing chops to make it happen. Who knows, maybe she comes out of all of this as the great unifier?

Many advertisers will be shelling out big bucks for advertising spots and will also have to deal with politically charged attitudes in their audience. There’s no doubt that the Super Bowl is still a prime spot for being seen, and advertisers like 84 Lumber and Hyundai are looking to cash in.

Because, regardless of all the turmoil being served with the burgers, wings, and nachos, the Big Game is still the biggest TV audience of the year … and advertisers love a captive audience … even if they’re not in the best mood.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5W PR, a New York public relations firm.



Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is Chairman & Founder of 5WPR & one of America’s most notable PR executives. He is the Author of best-selling PR book, “For Immediate Release.“