By Alex Dobuzinskis/Associated PressIt was a wild year for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In January, the former secretary of state, who was a rising star in the Democratic party, clinched the nomination for the first time in the party’s history.
Then came a string of bad news for her.
First came the FBI’s announcement that its investigation into her private email server had concluded that she had violated the Espionage Act, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Then, in March, Clinton’s campaign released a new ad in which a female narrator talks about the “super bowl” and then jokes about how “everyone wants a Super Bowl” and how the winner will be “the most popular woman in America.”
But the ad’s impact wasn’t limited to Clinton.
It became the top-selling ad in the Super Bowl in January, and it was widely viewed as an attack on her presidential bid.
It’s hard to say if the ad was a resounding success, or just a blip on the radar for most viewers.
“It’s easy to be a little surprised,” says John Lichtman, a professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire and a leading expert on presidential campaigns.
“But the fact that she’s had a lot of attention on this for a long time and she’s gotten it out there, I think it was probably a very good signal.”
What’s the big deal?
The ad’s creator, The Bernie Bros, a group of millennial males who call themselves “Bernie Bros” and who had their first TV ad with the hashtag #FeelTheBern, was hoping to capture the zeitgeist.
The ad, which premiered in March on ABC, was about Clinton’s health, which the Sanders campaign has said is a “distraction” from the campaign’s primary campaign.
Clinton is also a rising political star in her home state of New York, and she was viewed favorably by her own party as recently as last month, when she won her homestate’s primary.
Clinton’s image has improved since then, though the Bernie Bros still don’t have a large following and they don’t seem to have a major media strategy.
The campaign did, however, send out the ad in response to an email sent by a reporter to The Daily Beast, the progressive outlet.
“I know you’re a fan of this ad and you’re not happy,” the reporter, Michael Weiss, wrote in an email.
“We’ll let you know if we hear from you.”
The campaign was also trying to make the case that Sanders’s campaign was behind the emails, as they were a part of the Democratic Party, but the campaign never did.
Sanders’s allies have since said that The Bernie Bro group was an outgrowth of the Sanders political operation.
The Super Bowl is a chance for the Bernie Bro operation to try to turn the attention back to Clinton, and to make sure she doesn’t win the presidency.
The Superbowl is also an opportunity for the Sanders camp to show that they’re serious about the Sanders cause.
That could be an important step in the long battle to convince Democrats and liberals that the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged against Sanders, who has long called the party establishment a bunch of crooks and thugs.
It could also help the Bernie Brothers, who have been trying to keep the attention focused on the campaign.
But even if the Superbowl ad doesn’t get the attention it deserves, it’s clear that The Bern Bros are working on another big campaign.
The group has launched a website called Bernie Bros. The site, which features a photo of Clinton holding a banner saying “We Can’t Wait,” is a major move for the group.
And the Sanders Campaign’s efforts to build support for the ad are beginning to pay off.
Sanders has received a steady stream of donations in recent weeks, and his supporters have been energized and are willing to engage in online campaigns.
So far, the Supercup campaign is generating more than $1 million, more than double what it was getting from the Sanders team before the ad campaign.
That’s in addition to the millions that the Bernie Boys have raised, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“The Bernie Bros are going to make some noise,” says Lichtmann.
“There’s a lot going on in the Bernie bro world.”
Follow Allie Conti on Twitter at @allie.conti.
Follow Allia Conti at @AllieConti.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.