Unique Ads in Super Bowl 2021

Unique Ads in Super Bowl 2021

The social media company Reddit is in the news again. Apparently, they aired a 5-second commercial that left the Super Bowl fans wondering if it was a technical glitch or an actual advertisement. So what did the ad contain? What is Super Bowl? And did you know there aired an ad regarding farmers’ protests? Well, let’s understand what all happened.

Crux of the Matter

What is the Super Bowl?
It is the annual championship game of the National Football League. The game is being played on the first Sunday in February, since 2004.

Good Platform For Ad-Makers?
Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 became the most-watched American television program in history with an audience of 114.4 million viewers. The SB is also second to the UEFA Champions League final, as the most-watched annual sporting event worldwide

Thus, commercial airtime during the SB broadcast is expensive due to the high viewership, leading to companies regularly developing their best ads for this broadcast.

And Then There Was Reddit
The 5-second ad began as a car commercial, with two SUVs racing across the desert. Then Reddit’s logo came on screen, followed by a lengthy statement.

It Worked!
Created by New York-based R/GA, the ad team finished creating the commercial in a day. It was among the most-searched Super Bowl ads on Google on Sunday night and received 270,000+ upvotes on Reddit.

There Was A Farmers’ Protests Ad Too

The ad was not a part of the actual SB event and was aired in certain parts of California. Crowdfunded by GoFundMe, it raised $11,123 within a day and the excess funds were donated to a non-profit called ‘Seva For Everyone’

What Did It Show?
The 30-second ad began with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. and termed the ongoing farmers’ protest as the “largest protest in history”.

Read more about Farm Laws and controversy around it here.

  • The Super Bowl is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day. In 2015, Super Bowl XLIX became the most-watched American television program in history with an audience of 114.4 million viewers. 
  • As of February 2021, Reddit ranks as the 18th-most-visited website in the world and 7th most-visited website in the US, according to Alexa Internet. About 42-49.3% of its user base comes from the United States.
  • The name “Reddit” is a play-on-words with the phrase “read it”, i.e., “I read it on Reddit.” According to Reddit, in 2019 there were approximately 430 million monthly users, who are known as “redditors”.

Protests In Poland On Abortion Law

Protests In Poland On Abortion Law

Poland’s Law and Justice party in 2015 took the decision to illegitimate the existing abortion laws and protestors in Poland have taken to the streets to protest the move. Let’s take an in-depth look into it.

Crux of the Matter

Poland’s Law and Justice party in 2015 decided to illegitimate the existing abortion law, which has been in the country for about 30 years and the Poland feminists have taken to the streets to protest the move. Have a look at the infographic below to understand the law which has been in place for 30 years.

Other Propositions In The New Legislation

  • Imprison women who choose to have an abortion.
  • Imprison the doctors who perform an abortion.
  • Investigate miscarriages.

Protest Against The PiS Party
The decision of the constitutional court to rule that “abortion due to fetal defects was unconstitutional” was taken on 22nd October 2015. If the law is implemented, women in Poland will be able to legally terminate pregnancy only in case of rape or a threat to their health. However, about 98% of abortion in Poland happens due to fetal abnormality.

On 28th November 2015, Poland’s feminist organization Strajk Kobiet (Women’s Strike) staged a protest in downtown Warsaw. To attract attention to the decision of Poland’s Constitutional Court to criminalise abortions. The date also commemorated the 102nd anniversary of women’s suffrage in the country.

“Even pregnancies …when a child is sure to die… [should] end with the mother giving birth so the child can be baptized, buried, and have a name.”

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Law and Justice Party Leader, October 2016

On 14th December 2020, hundreds of people gathered again in Warsaw at an anti-government protest. It was set to coincide with the 39th anniversary of the 1981 martial law crackdown by Poland’s then Communist regime.

Reactions and Protests
Many accused the government of looking more like the authoritarian regime of the communist era. The march was held under the slogan: ”We are going for freedom. We are going for everything!”. The movement is represented by the symbol of the Women’s Strike: a lightning bolt.

Protesters, including feminist communities, LGBTQ members, were seen chanting- “My body – my business!”, “Legal abortion!” and other slogans criticizing Poland’s governing right-wing Law and Justice Party that initiated the court’s consideration of the issue

What is the Martial Law?
The Martial law refers to the period between 13 December 1981 and 22 July 1983, when the authoritarian communist government of the Polish People’s Republic restricted everyday life by introducing martial law and a military junta in an attempt to throttle political opposition, in particular the Solidarity Movement.

The Women’s Suffrage Movement
Poland was among the first nations to grant women legal rights. Women’s suffrage was delivered in 1918 after the country regained independence that year. After Martial Law in Poland, first publications discussing feminist ideas appeared in the public sphere, sometimes considered as the cover for the actual social situation.

Read about other recent protests in India and across the globe here:

  • The word Poland is derived from ‘Polska’ which originates from the name of the tribe Polanie, which means “people living in open fields”
  • According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, if the pregnancy is under 20 weeks, abortion is allowed in India. However, it is subject to several conditions, and your ability to get an abortion will depend on the opinion of the doctor.
  • Pro-life movements are involved in the abortion debate advocating against the practice of abortion and its legality. Many anti-abortion movements began as countermovements in response to the legalization of elective abortions.

Why Are There Widespread Protests In Thailand?

Why Are There Widespread Protests In Thailand?

In September, protesters started gathering on the streets of Bangkok, Thailand. Protests are being carried out against the current constitutional framework of Thailand. Let’s look at the demands of protestors and the history of military coups in Thailand.

Crux of the Matter

Protests In Thailand
Protestors have been gathering for weeks with three demands, enclosed by the slogan “Resign, Rewrite, Reform” along with a three-finger salute (borrowed from Hunger Games) as a form of silent protest.

In September, a plaque was placed near the royal palace that read, “At this place, the people have expressed their will that this country belongs to the people and is not the property of the monarchy, as they have deceived us” along with an image of three-finger salute, which was later removed by the officials.

In another incident in Thailand Protests, on October 14th 2020, Queen Suthida’s limousine drove past a group of protestors who yelled: “My taxes” along with the three-finger salute. Many protesters were later arrested, who might have to pay severe penalties under the “Lese-majeste” law.

Demands Of The Protesters

  • In 2019, the King’s sister, Ratana Rajkanya, stood in the elections for the post of PM, but her party was terminated by the King.
  • They want the Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, to resign because he became Prime Minister through unfair means and that he planned the coup of 2014.
  • The protesters are also demanding the king’s wealth, amounting to over ₹2 lakh crores, to be split.
  • Even though the prime minister has taken an appeasing approach, the protestors seem to stand their ground.

What Is Lese-Majeste Law?
Thailand’s criminal code Article 112, states that anyone who “defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent or the regent” will be punished with a jail term between three and 15 years. The law has remained unchanged since 1908 when the first criminal code was written.

Critics say the military-backed government uses the law to suppress free speech, while the government says the law is necessary to protect the monarchy.

History Of Military Coup In Thailand

  • 1933: First military coup The Siamese coup d’état.
  • 1947 & 1948: Another Siamese coup d’état.
  • 1991 & 2006: Thai coup d’état.
  • 2006: Thai interim civilian government coup to overthrow Thaksin Shinawatra.
  • 2014: Thai coup d’état to overthrow Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck.
  • King Bhumibol Adulyadej died in 2016 and the throne was succeeded by his son, Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Power Of Military & Media
The government and military control nearly all the national terrestrial television networks, and operate many of Thailand’s radio networks. The media is free to criticise government policies, and cover instances of corruption and human rights abuses. However, the media also has to abide by the lese-majeste law.

  • P. Ayyakannu is a lawyer and farmer born in Tamil Nadu. He is famously known widely throughout India for his protest against the central government at New Delhi, demanding the agricultural loan in cooperative banks to be abandoned. 
  • The breadbasket of a country is a region which, because of the richness of the soil and/or advantageous climate, produces large quantities of wheat or other grain. The Punjab and Haryana regions are considered the breadbaskets of India.
  • CBI is exempted from the provisions of the Right to Information Act. This exemption was granted by the government in 2011 on the basis of national security. It was criticized by the Central Information Commission and RTI activists, who said the blanket exemption violated the letter and intent of the RTI Act.

Nigeria Protests Against Police Brutality

Nigeria Protests Against Police Brutality

Amidst ongoing protests against authoritarian regimes as well as police brutality worldwide, protests in Nigeria continue over the brutality of a special police unit, initially formed to counter serious crimes.

Crux of the Matter

Protests Against ‘SARS’
Mass protests have been occurring in Nigeria over the alleged brutality of the SARS police unit. The protests were initiated after an alleged video went viral, which showed SARS officers shooting dead a young person without any provocation. While Nigerian officials labelled the video ‘fake’, protesters claimed otherwise and demanded to disband the SARS unit.

On 20 October, a violent crackdown by authorities occurred as protests continued even after the state imposed a curfew. According to the Amnesty International report, 12 “peaceful protesters” were killed by the “army and police”.

Celebrities like Kanye West, Cardi B, Mesut Ozil, etc have supported the protesters while calling for an end to police brutality.

The United States must stand with Nigerians who are peacefully demonstrating for police reform and seeking an end to corruption in their democracy.

Joe Biden, US President Candidate, Democrat

What Is SARS Unit?

  • SARS: Special Anti-Robbery Squad was formed in 1992.
  • Formed to tackle serious problems like robberies, assaults and murders.
  • Aim: To “complement” conventional police.
  • Initially reduced crime, nabbed several “high-profile criminals” and had a corruption-free image as compared to conventional police.
  • Later turned rogue – allegedly used torture and even engaged in extortion and extrajudicial killings.
  • Several young people harassed by SARS for owning luxury items like iPhones, cars etc. or having piercings and tattoos on body.
    Slogans like “To be modern is not a crime” and “We are techies not thieves” have been used by youngsters in protests.
  • Protests going since 2017 – used hashtag #EndSARS.
  • Govt promised reforms in 2018 and 2019, but no change reported yet.
  • 11 October 2020: SARS was disbanded.

Why Protests Still Continue?

  • Government announced that a new Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) police unit would be created, which would receive training from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
  • Protesters have claimed that the new SWAT is just a renaming of SARS with no real changes.
  • Protesters also not convinced by the fact that SARS has been disbanded 4 times in the last 4 years.
  • The demands for a complete reform in the police system thus continue.
  • Muhammadu Buhari is a Nigerian politician who has been president of Nigeria since 2015. Buhari is a retired general of the Nigerian Army and served as military head of state from 1983 to 1985. The term Buharism is ascribed to the right-wing policies of his military regime.
  • The Special Anti-Robbery Squad was founded in late 1992 by former police commissioner Simeon Danladi Midenda. The major reason SARS was formed was when Col. Rindam of the Nigerian Army was killed by police officers at a checkpoint in Lagos in September 1992, later leading to the arrest of three officers.
  • In May 2010, Amnesty International disclosed that it would be suing the Nigerian Police over human rights abuses, stating that SARS operatives in Borokiri, Port Harcourt, had arrested and tortured three bicyclists and detained them for over one week. Amnesty International is a non-governmental organization with its headquarters in the United Kingdom focused on human rights.

Anti-Establishment Protests During Pandemic

Anti-Establishment Protests During Pandemic

Amidst several changes brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is also witnessing anti-establishment protests for bringing more democratic changes in the system amidst severe violations of democracy in several nations.

Crux of the Matter

More than 10,000 people gathered in protest in Bangkok, Thailand, demanding democratic reforms in the monarchical system and amendments in the Constitution. The protesters also demanded the removal of “Lèse-majesté” laws in Thailand, where citizens can face 15 years in jail for defaming the King or any royal family member of Thailand. Protesters have alleged that the law is being used to suppress voices of genuine criticism.

While the absolute monarchy in Thailand was abolished in 1932, the Monarch still holds considerable power in the country, with the “Lèse-majesté” coming to his aid. In 2014, the Thailand Govt was removed in a coup by the military, and the country has been under a military junta rule since then.

Protests have been going on since 2019 in Lebanon over the dismantled economy and political mismanagement. These protests have been strengthened after the recent Beirut blast, which occurred at the Beirut port on 4 August, and resulted in more than 200 casualties.

The explosion occurred due to the storage of Ammonium Nitrate in large quantities on the port, with the compound being stored since 2014 and the authorities warning of a possible danger since 2016. The protesters have demanded the removal of the current government and have also criticized the “mafia” Hezbollah.

Mali, a country located in Western Africa, had witnessed large scale protests demanding the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita for weeks.

Keita was re-elected in 2018 after victory in 2013. However, the public had been demanding his removal over allegations of unfair elections, unchecked corruption, and an increase in attacks by radical Islamist groups.

On 18 August 2020, Keita was arrested by the military, which then overtook the control of the country. In its statement, the military has said it will hold elections soon and would act only as a “caretaker” till the elections. France and the European Union (EU) have condemned the military coup in their official statements.

On 25 May 2020, George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by a police officer over suspicion of fake currency usage. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, choked Floyd by bending his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes 46 seconds.

Millions of people have come to the streets for protests, which are still continuing all across the world. The move has also drawn support from athletes, musicians and celebrities across the world. Police defunding and accountability bills have been proposed in the US Parliament since the protests to eliminate such racial violence by the police.

Hong Kong
In 2019, China proposed an ‘extradition law’ for the trial of Hong Kong citizens in the Chinese Courts (China and Hong Kong are connected through the ‘1 country, 2 systems’ provision). In June 2020, China passed the ‘Security Law’ in Hong Kong which criminalizes sedition and includes criticism of the government in the definition of Sedition.

Protests, going on since 2019, have increased in numbers as well as intensity with the recent ‘Security Law’ being passed, with the protesters demanding democracy and freedom from “draconian” Chinese laws. Several thousand protesters have been arrested, with several of them disappearing since.

Alexander Lukashenko recently won the Belarus Presidential election with more than 80% votes going in his favour. Lukashenko has been the President since 1994. However, all elections since 1994, including 2020 one, have been declared “unfair and rigged” by the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE).

Opposition leaders have fled to other nations for security after the self proclaimed ‘dictator’ was re-elected. Large scale protests demanding the resignation of Lukashenko have erupted in the country since his re-election, and more than than 7,000 protesters have been arrested so far. The European Union has declared the 2020 elections ‘unfair’ and has stated that it stands “in solidarity with the people of Belarus”.

  • The Nepalese Civil War was a civil war in Nepal fought between the Communist Party of Nepal and the Government of Nepal from 1996 to 2006. The rebellion was launched with the purpose of overthrowing the Nepalese monarchy and establishing a People’s Republic.
  • Social movement theory is an interdisciplinary study within the social sciences that generally seeks to explain why social mobilization occurs and the forms under which it manifests. Anomie and Egoism are two major problems behind social distress as per one of the classical approaches of the theory. 
  • James Jasper is a writer and sociologist best known for his research and theories about culture and politics, especially the cultural and emotional dimensions of protest movements. He teaches at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.