Many families have Super Bowl traditions as the generations gather around the television to watch the biggest football game of the year. It gives families a wonderful opportunity to share their interests and histories and to talk about the skill, determination, teamwork, practice, and courage that go into competing at that level.
Unfortunately, the ads, which have generated almost as much press as the game itself, can lead to a whole other kind of family conversation and not one many parents welcome. Every year, I hear complaints from parents who find themselves getting questions about ED or who find their children imitating the silly or hyper-sexed behavior from alcohol ads.
Common Sense Media has a new report based on a review of the ads in over 50 games with more than 160 hours and more than 5000 commercials.
- 1 out of every 6 commercials shown contained messages and images that were inappropriate for young kids.
- 40% of the games included advertisements for erectile-dysfunction drugs (Viagra® and Cialis®)
- More than 500 of the ads involved significant levels of violence, including gun fights, explosions and murders.
- 300 of the ads were for alcohol.
- 80 of the ads included significant levels of sexuality, including scenes about prostitution and strippers.
- Nearly half (44.7%) of the violent and sexual ads were promotions by the networks for their own programs.
94% of the mothers polled said that they were concerned about inappropriate television commercials during pro football games. And at least one father agrees:
“I wasn’t too happy with ads for erectile-dysfunction drugs popping up every 15 minutes whenever I watched a football game with my daughters in the room.”
–President Barack Obama,
The Audacity of Hope, 2006
The report, called Broadcast Dysfunction: Sex, Violence, Alcohol, and the NFL is well worth reading. And Common Sense Media’s site has something even more important — a direct link to send the NFL a complaint using their draft text or your own words. If this is a concern for you and your family, I urge you to let Commissioner Roger Goodell know how you feel.