Indian American gubernatorial candidate in Michigan Shri Thanedar aired a 30-second commercial in several local markets during the Super Bowl telecast.
Thanedar, a Democrat seeking the seat being vacated by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder who can’t seek re-election due to term limits, has spent or committed $1.2 million on TV ads throughout his campaign, according to a Detroit News report.
The Super Bowl ad, titled “the name game,” used self-deprecating humor to introduce the Indian immigrant and Ann Arbor businessman to voters by poking fun at difficulties pronouncing his name, the report said.
The ad (seen here), which cost the candidate roughly $114,000, shows Thanedar, the founder and former chief executive of the Avomeen chemical testing business, introducing himself to community members.
“Hi, I’m Shri Thanedar, running for governor,” he starts out, shaking a man’s hand. The man responds, “Free Darth Vader?” The candidate retorts, “No. Shri Thanedar.”
He goes on to introduce himself to several other people throughout the ad. One man is seen responding by saying, "Siri?" Another woman responds, saying, "Ted Radar?" And finally, another woman says, "Not Rick Snyder?" to which Thanedar says, "That's closer."
The ad, which Thanedar’s campaign announced last month (see India-West article here), is expected to run throughout February.
Thanedar has been pumping much of his own money into the race, committing about $6 million to boost his name.
The candidate is considered a long shot for the Democratic nomination and is fighting a lawsuit over the sale of his business (see India-West article here), the publication said.
Other candidates include former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, former Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed and former Xerox executive Bill Cobbs.
Thanedar, who filed as a Democrat, launched Avomeen in 2010 and made headlines late last year when he gave his employees $1.5 million in holiday bonuses, collectively.
Prior to launching Avomeen, he was the owner and CEO of Chemir Analytical Services (1990 to 2010), chairman and owner of Azopharma Contract Pharmaceutical Services (2003 to 2010), chairman at the Azopharma Product Development Group (2003 to 2010), and owner of Lycoming Analytical Laboratories (2003 to 2005).
Thanedar, who has an M.B.A. from Fontbonne University and a doctorate degree from the University of Akron, was named an EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999, 2007 and 2016.