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question of the weekend: If you were given a free commercial spot during the Super Bowl, what would you advertise?

Super Bowl 44 will be played next Sunday, February 7, and amidst all the usual hubbub about the commercials that will air during the game is some controversy over an anti-abortion spot produced by the ultra-ring-wing Focus on the Family featuring Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow. Jezebel looks at why the ad itself is just plain fail, but the real issue isn’t about abortion but about CBS’s hypocrisy. Explains AlterNet:

CBS has rejected issue advertising in the past. In 2004, the network refused to run ads by both PETA and MoveOn.org: the MoveOn ad made the wildly controversial point that Bush had increased the national deficit; PETA’s involved scantily clad women.

Also too edgy for CBS: the idea that Jesus espoused universal love. In 2004 the United Church of Christ submitted an ad showing a bouncer blocking a gay couple from entering a Church, with the tagline: Jesus Didn’t Turn People away. Neither do we.

The network rejected the Church’s ad because it “touches on and/or takes a position on one side of a current controversial issue of public importance.”

Which would certainly seem to apply to an anti-abortion ad, too. (More: Just this week, CBS rejected an ad for a gay dating site.)

Also important to remember: A 30-second Super Bowl spot is one of the bulliest of pulpits in American society. Which is terrifying, but there we are. Advertising during the Super Bowl is guaranteed one of the biggest audiences of the television year — an audience typically much larger than even the most watched regular programs, and not an audience that is limited to sports fans, either. (Last year’s Super Bowl garnered almost 100 million viewers in the U.S. alone, a third of the country. Nothing else gets Super Bowl-level ratings these days, not even the Oscars.) The ads themselves often typically generate a lot of buzz, and get additional free play on news and commentary shows.

Assuming a promise of no rejection from the network: If you were given a free commercial spot during the Super Bowl, what would you advertise? What would you promote (or speak out against)? What form would your ad take?

(This weekend’s question comes from the conversation-starting game Table Topics: Not Your Mom’s Dinner Party Edition [Amazon U.S.].)

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD/QOTW, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)


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  • http://reformamendment.blogspot.com/ PaulW

    I’d do one of two things:

    1) advertise my book!

    2) promote my resume, as I am unemployed and need the work!

    3) show fanatical devotion to the Pope, oh drat. Three, THREE things I would do… Wait a minute, I’m Unitarian! Bleep the Pope!

  • tomservo

    So much for the “liberal media elite.” The real mainstream media are terrified of the all powerful right wing media machine. They are the ones who drive our political discourse. God help us (I forgot. He’s on Tebows side.)

  • Paul

    How about a spot quoting Jesus’ teaching of love, peace, and forgiveness running as subtitles to our war in Iraq?

  • http://twitter.com/StevenErtelt Steven Ertelt

    Join LifeNews.com, Americans United for Life and 76,000+ people as we support Focus on the Family and their pro-life ad celebrating Tim Tebow and his mother’s decision to not abort him. http://www.facebook.com/TebowSuperBowlAd

  • Bluejay

    I would just air a clip from Cosmos, or from any interesting science lecture. Just 30 seconds of Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining something that would totally blow our minds.

    If I were allowed several spots, I’d make them all little mini-lectures, 30-second college courses. Clips of professors explaining something cool about art or literature or history or the structure of government.

    Kind of like the ads in the NY subway trains that are just snippets of poetry or passages from novels. Something to wake up the brain.

  • http://reformamendment.blogspot.com/ PaulW

    4) A commercial for this awesome Greek restaurant Plakta’s over on the Tarpons Springs sponge docks… FOUR! Four things I would make commercials for during the Super Bowl weekend…

  • http://bzero.livejournal.com bzero

    Wow. I love the pro-life spam comment in an article about CBS’s hypocrisy.

  • Michael

    30 seconds of another football game, just to confuse the hell out of people.

  • markyd

    I really like Bluejays idea.
    I was just thinking I would advertise “Life”. As in…go get one. Football sucks.
    Then I realized how odd it would be for a geek to accuse sports people of not having a life. I’m pretty sure those very same people are the ones who accused me of being lifeless for not doing popular things like attending sporting events or dances.
    Then my mind imploded.

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    I was just thinking I would advertise “Life”.

    As in “Life. What a beautiful choice”?

    Maybe it’s a Catholic thing but I could swear I’ve heard that slogan somewhere before…

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    Question of the weekend: If you were given a free commercial spot during the Super Bowl, what would you advertise?

    I would think that the choice is obvious: soccer…

  • Bluejay

    As in “Life. What a beautiful choice”?

    Maybe it’s a Catholic thing but I could swear I’ve heard that slogan somewhere before…

    Yes, you have.