Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Super Bowl Ads — Not Family Friendly?

posted by Nell Minow

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. super-bowl-2009.gif
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.
They found:

  • 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.



  • jestrfyl

    I hope you will read elsewhere on B’net the comments about the Super Bowl as a national holy day.
    But even more, I hope you will comment on the movie trailers that were part of the S.B. experience. Some were for movies that will not be released for 6 months! The ads themeselves were better than most years (I read the paper during the game portions and watched the ads – until the game actually got interesting). So what is your take on the movie ads, the product ads, and the distribution of products advertised as a sign of our national self image (wow, a lot of job seekers sites! And Oooh that “enhancement” ad! YIKES!)

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    The one I most want to see is “Up!” And I thought this survey response about the movie trailers was very interesting:
    According to a MovieTickets.com poll of over 1,360 individuals who said they watched the entire game, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” was the most memorable movie trailer to air during Super Bowl XLIII.
    Over 83 percent of moviegoers remembered seeing the trailer, while 23 percent said the trailer was the most effective in encouraging them to see the film when it releases June 26 in theaters — more than any other trailer aired Sunday. “Star Trek” was second at 17 percent.
    Here’s a breakdown of the Super Bowl’s most memorable 2009 ads:
    MovieTickets.com Poll: Which of the following movie advertisements (trailers) do you remember seeing during the Super Bowl?
    1. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (83%)
    2. “Star Trek” (79%)
    3. “Monsters vs. Aliens” (78%)
    4. “Fast and Furious” (77%)
    5. “Land of the Lost” (75%)
    6. “Race to Witch Mountain” (74%)
    7. “Angels and Demons” (64%)
    8. “G.I. Joe” (59%)
    9. “Up” (48%)
    10. “Year One” (34%)

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