The ads — which will air during five upcoming NFL games — represent the heart of Biden’s argument against President Donald Trump: An intense focus on how the President has mismanaged the ongoing coronavirus, the importance of voting in November and questioning Trump’s character.
“Our paid media program definitely places a premium on these high impact, high viewership events,” said Jordan Finkelstein, paid media chief of staff for the Biden campaign. “We think it’s just a good opportunity to connect with viewers when they’re not just putting the TV on to have something on, they are specifically tuned in to watch a football game.”
Finkelstein said that the campaign intentionally looked for games with teams in swing states and tailored the ads to “who we think is watching to maximize our impact and try to connect with voters and viewers the best we can.”
Two of the ads will air during the in-conference matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, two teams from battleground states in the presidential race.
“For 50 years, the Blind Pig has been open and crowded. But right now it is an empty room,” says Malcoun, the co-owner of the bar. “This is the reality of Trump’s Covid response. We don’t know how much longer we can survive not having any revenue.”
Biden has made Trump’s handling of the coronavirus central to his campaign against the President. Bars and small music venues have been some of the most dramatically impacted establishments because of social distancing guidance during the pandemic.
Malcoun adds: “A lot of restaurants and bars that have been mainstays for years will not make it through this. This is Donald Trump’s economy. There is no plan and you don’t know how to go forward. It makes me so angry. My only hope for my family and for this business and my community is that Joe Biden wins this election.”
A campaign aide told CNN it was the first time the Beastie Boys have allowed one of their songs to be used in a campaign ad.
“In 2016, I didn’t vote. I didn’t think it mattered,” Shazier says. “I won’t make that mistake again.”
With images from his career-ending hit on screen, Shazier continues: “One thing I learned in life, you have to make the most of every opportunity you get. Right now, you have the opportunity to make positive change in your community — by voting. … You want change? Go vote. Use your power.”
“When I first got back, I am looking for snipers, I am looking for IEDs,” says Matt, who is from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, another swing state. “My friends, they are not suckers.”
“I have been working my whole life towards a dream to play professionally. Missing this season puts those dreams in jeopardy,” Vance says in the ad. “Trump’s failure of leadership is why we can’t play right now. I don’t blame President Trump for the virus, but I 100% blame him for the response to the virus.”
The Big Sky conference, which includes the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, postponed their football season earlier this year because of the coronavirus.
These ads are far from the first time the Biden campaign has aired spots during high-profile television moments. The campaign has previously aired ads during the Billboard Music Awards, the Emmy and MTV Video Music Awards, as well as during the Major League Baseball playoffs.
The Biden campaign will also target swing states when they air previously released ads over the next week during the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers meeting on Sunday, as well as the Thursday Night Football game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.
UPDATE: This story has been updated with corrected information from the Biden campaign about the US Army veteran in one of their ads.