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.)