This spot and its shorter versions aim to get the Washington Redskins football team to change the name.
The owner of the Washington Redskins has said “Redskins” is a term of respect. This ad disagrees.
The ad works by leading viewers to the conclusion it wants them to draw. The ad goes through a long list of words and phrases Native Americans do use to describe themselves. But, viewers are told, Native Americans never describe themselves as… the camera focuses on a Washington Redskins helmet with a football in the background while the soundtrack stays silent.
The ad doesn’t say that Native Americans are insulted by the Redskins name, but the implication is clear. When viewers draw that conclusion for themselves, they believe it more readily than if the ad explicitly made that claim.
The ad’s presence on high profile television says more than Native Americans are insulted by the Redskins name. The ad’s presence on a big sporting event says that a group of people are so angered by the name that they are willing to spend a lot of money to try to change it. Is the name insulting? The million dollar ad buy convincingly says “yes.”