Tremendous Bowl advertisements break the bank. So when a bunch backing the presidential bid of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. ran a 30-second ad for him throughout Sunday evening’s sport, the political world took discover.

How had the tremendous PAC of a long-shot unbiased candidate paid for such a pricey spot, and whose concept was it to adapt a classic John F. Kennedy advert for his nephew’s marketing campaign?

A serious supply of the funding — and the artistic steering — it seems, was Nicole Shanahan, a lawyer, entrepreneur and Democratic donor who was as soon as married to the Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

In an interview on Monday, Ms. Shanahan stated she had given $4 million to the tremendous PAC, American Values 2024, a few week earlier than the sport, for the categorical goal of serving to pay for a Tremendous Bowl advert. She additionally helped coordinate the advert’s manufacturing, she stated, together with navigating considerations from CBS Sports activities and Paramount, which broadcast the Super Bowl.

“It looks like an amazing alternative to spotlight that he’s working for president,” Ms. Shanahan stated. She stated a part of her motivation was concern concerning the setting, vaccines and kids’s well being, and her perception that Mr. Kennedy was keen to problem the scientific institution.

“I do marvel about vaccine accidents,” she stated, though she clarified that she is “not an anti-vaxxer,” however needed extra screening of dangers for vaccinations. “I feel there must be an area to have these conversations.”

Mr. Kennedy, an environmental lawyer, has turn into broadly recognized lately for his work with the so-called medical freedom motion, which has promoted discredited claims concerning the dangers of sure childhood vaccinations.

“I do suppose we have now an environmental well being disaster on this nation,” Ms. Shanahan stated. “I do consider Individuals deserve clear water. And we will’t obtain that within the present local weather of politics.”

Tony Lyons, a co-chairman of American Values 2024, confirmed Ms. Shanahan’s position and the timeline she sketched out of the advert’s manufacturing. He stated a number of different donors had chipped in to pay for the advert, which value $7 million. (The contributions, like Ms. Shanahan’s, won’t seem in public filings till the tremendous PAC recordsdata its subsequent report, due later this month.)

A consultant for Paramount International declined to remark.

The advert, which tailored footage from a well-known 1960 Kennedy marketing campaign advert, drew criticism from some members of the Kennedy household, a lot of whom have criticized him for spreading conspiracy theories about vaccines and promoting other misinformation.

In a put up on the social media website X on Sunday evening, Mr. Kennedy distanced himself from the spot, noting that the tremendous PAC is legally barred from consulting with the marketing campaign, and saying he was “so sorry if the Tremendous Bowl commercial precipitated anybody in my household ache.”

As of Monday afternoon, the advert was nonetheless pinned to his profile, though it was later taken down. Stefanie Spear, the press secretary for the Kennedy marketing campaign, didn’t reply to a request for touch upon Monday. On Sunday, she stated the marketing campaign had been “pleasantly shocked and grateful” for the advert.

Ms. Shanahan, 38, is a lawyer and tech entrepreneur within the Bay Space who has invested in scientific analysis, significantly within the areas of well being and the setting. She was married to Mr. Brin in 2018; their divorce was finalized final summer season.

Ms. Shanahan, who has a document of giving to Democrats — together with to President Biden’s marketing campaign in 2020 — and described herself on Monday as a “progressive by and thru,” gave the utmost $6,600 contribution to Mr. Kennedy’s presidential marketing campaign in Could, when he was nonetheless searching for the Democratic nomination, information present.

However when Mr. Kennedy introduced in October that he would instead run as an independent — a transfer he stated was crucial as a result of Democrats have been blocking him from difficult Mr. Biden — Ms. Shanahan stated she was “extremely disillusioned” and determined to not again him.

In current weeks, she stated, she has reconsidered, as she met individuals who have been “actually revved up” about Mr. Kennedy. “There are pockets of silent assist all over,” she stated.

On Feb. 2, she stated, she spoke for the primary time with Mr. Lyons, who informed her that he needed to run a Tremendous Bowl advert however didn’t have the cash.

American Values has stated it raised greater than $28 million final yr, however that determine included $10 million in contributions from Gavin de Becker, a well-known security consultant — $9.7 million of which was refunded, information present.

The tremendous PAC has stated that the funds from Mr. de Becker, whose agency has supplied safety for Mr. Kennedy’s marketing campaign, have been “essential bridge funding donations,” and that the cash was returned to him when it wasn’t wanted. “He continues to offer bridge funding, for instance, $4 million he’s donating in February,” Mr. Lyons stated in a press release.

The tremendous PAC additionally acquired $15 million final yr from Timothy Mellon, a banking inheritor and businessman who additionally gave $10 million in 2023 to a brilliant PAC supporting former President Donald J. Trump. Mr. Mellon’s position has raised eyebrows amongst some Democrats, with fears widespread within the get together that Mr. Kennedy might siphon votes away from Mr. Biden.

After the advert ran on Sunday evening, the Democratic Nationwide Committee accused Mr. Kennedy of serving as a “Trump stalking horse” searching for to undermine Mr. Biden. In response, the tremendous PAC stated the D.N.C. was “utilizing each political trick it could consider” to maintain Mr. Kennedy off the poll. (Mr. Biden’s allies have certainly been attempting to stave off potential third-party presidential candidates.)

American Values 2024 had $14.8 million readily available on the finish of December, in response to its year-end report filed on Jan. 31. The tremendous PAC has stated it deliberate to spend upward of $15 million to assist the Kennedy marketing campaign’s efforts to put his title on the poll in 12 states — an effort that’s being challenged by the D.N.C., which final week filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing the teams of improper coordination.

Ms. Shanahan stated that after her Feb. 2 telephone name with Mr. Lyons, she despatched the tremendous PAC $4 million to assist pay for a Tremendous Bowl advert.

However the subsequent day, a Saturday, Mr. Lyons informed her that the advert that they had been engaged on couldn’t run due to considerations about legal guidelines that bar tremendous PACs from coordinating with candidates. The advert included clips of Mr. Kennedy chatting with the digital camera, she stated.

“Neither of us have been keen to surrender on the thought of the Tremendous Bowl advert,” Mr. Lyons stated. “He was being censored in so many various methods, such that many individuals in the US didn’t know he was working, although he’s been crisscrossing the nation and dealing across the clock to get his message out.”

That evening, Ms. Shanahan known as a buddy who had household connections to an advert company, and bought a suggestion for an editor in New York, who agreed on Sunday morning to tackle the venture. One other buddy of Ms. Shanahan’s advised “one thing retro,” she stated.

Working with a small group, she stated, “We spent the subsequent 10 hours taking a look at each single retro advert we might discover,” she stated. “The Kennedy jingle bought caught in our head.” She had by no means seen the unique commercial, she stated.

Mr. Lyons stated he was introduced into the advert manufacturing course of as soon as a tough reduce had been put collectively, he stated, and introduced it to Paramount. “She was the driving pressure behind the choice to do that advert. After I heard about it, I beloved the thought.”

Mr. Lyons stated the community pushed again with considerations about whether or not the tremendous PAC might use the unique advert with out authorized worries. The group conferred with a lawyer, who stated the 1960 advert was within the public area.

Ms. Shanahan stated there had been some concern that the Kennedy household may not approve of the advert. “They could be upset, however some could be thrilled,” she speculated. “What a good looking homage to this excellent household.”

Jim Rutenberg contributed reporting.



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