RFK Jr.’s super PAC runs a $7M ad during the Super Bowl

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The super PAC backing Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign aired a costly Super Bowl ad that didn’t just draw direct parallels between the independent candidate and his uncle, former president John F. Kennedy — it also used the exact same ad template.

The ad — seen by tens of millions of viewers — comes as Democratic concerns grow that Kennedy’s presidential run could pose a threat to President Joe Biden in critical battleground states. And it was an unusual dose of Mad Men-era political nostalgia amid the high gloss slate of expensive commercials.

The biggest difference between the ad that ran Sunday night and the JFK ad that ran in 1960 was, perhaps, the cost. The ad run by The American Values 2024 in support of Robert Kennedy Jr. ran nationally and cost the super PAC $7 million, according to an official at the committee. In 1960, that would have been a roughly $675,000 expense for the John F. Kennedy Jr. campaign, according to inflation calculators.

Shortly after the ad aired, members of the Kennedy family took to X to express fury with it.

"My cousin’s Super Bowl ad used our uncle’s faces- and my Mother’s. She would be appalled by his deadly health care views. Respect for science, vaccines, & health care equity were in her DNA," wrote Bobby Shriver, an activist and attorney.

Robert Kennedy Jr. responded apologetically by saying that the "ad was created and aired by the American Values Super PAC without any involvement or approval from my campaign. FEC rules prohibit Super PACs from consulting with me or my staff. I love you all. God bless you."

As of Monday morning, however, the ad remained pinned to the top of his profile page on X.

Robert Kennedy Jr. has leaned on his famous family name and celebrity connections throughout his campaign, which started in the Democratic primary before he chose to run as an independent. Polling shows that his candidacy finds support among Democrats and Republicans, owing to an unorthodox set of policies he emphasizes, among them skepticism of vaccines.

But he and his super PAC have also shown the ability to raise a lot of money. The American Values 2024 had $14.8 million on hand at the end of 2023.