Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Battle Over Super Bowl Ads

posted by Nell Minow

On February 7, the Saints will take on the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. And the ads are as high-profile as the game. Companies and groups must pay CBS more than $2 million in addition to the cost of producing the ad, which can be as much per-minute as a feature film.
A lot of people want to reach the Super Bowl audience and some want to sell ideas, not products. CBS, which has refused some “advocacy” ads in the past, this year has said they will permit those that are “responsibly produced.” They have already been criticized for agreeing to run an ad from Focus on the Family that features college football player Tim Tebow and his mother. She explains that though she was advised to get an abortion after she became ill, she continued the pregnancy and gave birth to Tebow. The Women’s Media Center and a group of organizations dedicated to reproductive rights, tolerance, and social justice have protested.
CBS is also getting complaints about what it is not showing. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has called on CBS to explain why it is refusing to run an ad for a gay dating site called Mancrunch during the Super Bowl. CBS issued a statement but did not explain their concerns: “After reviewing the ad — which is entirely commercial in nature — our Standards and Practices department decided not to accept this particular spot. As always, we are open to working with the client on alternative submissions.”
The Washington Post has a thoughtful op-ed by Frances Kissling, the former president of Catholics for Choice and Kate Michelman, former president of Naral Pro-Choice America, on “what Tim Tebow’s Super Bowl ad can teach the pro-choice movement.”

For abortion rights supporters, picking on Tim Tebow and his mom is not the way to go. Instead of trying to block or criticize the Focus on the Family ad, the pro-choice movement needs its own Super Bowl strategy….We’d go with a 30-second spot, too. The camera focuses on one woman after another, posed in the situations of daily life: rushing out the door in the morning for work, flipping through a magazine, washing dishes, teaching a class of sixth-graders, wheeling a baby stroller. Each woman looks calmly into the camera and describes her different and successful choice: having a baby and giving it up for adoption, having an abortion, having a baby and raising it lovingly. Each one being clear that making choices isn’t easy, but that life without tough choices doesn’t exist.

I think CBS should be open to “responsibly produced” advocacy ads on any issue of public concern. I doubt that the Focus on the Family will change anyone’s mind, and I support the right of Tenbow and his mother to tell their story and explain their views. I can imagine gay dating site ads that would and would not be appropriate. And I share the concerns of parents who are uncomfortable with the ads for ED and prostate medication, sexual pleasure aids and other highly personal items during telecasts of sporting events. What do you think?



  • Steven Ertelt

    Join LifeNews.com, Americans United for Life and 75,000+ 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

  • Laurie

    So, GoDaddy.com ads are “responsibly produced”? I accepted long ago that TV ads will provide conversation starters for me and my kids. Doesn’t matter if it’s sports, or Oprah or prime time. If it’s content is acceptable, then the network shouldn’t censor who gets time and who doesn’t.

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

    A very good point and a very good response, Laurie! If advertisers are spending more than $2 million to air the ads, the commercial and issue advertisers want to make sure that they get their money’s worth by making sure people talk about them afterward. I am sure that the day after, there will be some ad that people will find offensive and I’ll be commenting on it. And that people like you will use it as an opportunity to talk to kids about values to make the most of it.

Previous Posts

TrueSpark: Teaching Children and Teens About Character With Quality Films
I am honored to serve on the advisory committee for TrueSpark, which provides quality films and curricula for schools at no cost to use in teaching character. [iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/akEWIRfjnxk?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Parents and teachers who want to lear

posted 8:22:33pm Sep. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Genevieve Bailey of "I Am Eleven"
There's a reason that so many heroes and heroines of classic literature are eleven years old. It is that last magical moment at the cusp of childhood and adolescence, which is what makes it so fascinating and delightful. Genevieve Bailey remembered the year she was 11 as one of the happiest of her l

posted 8:09:47pm Sep. 21, 2014 | read full post »

The Best TV for Kids May Be Online
Children have more choices than ever on television, but some of the best viewing for kids is online. Common Sense Media has a great list of family-friendly YouTube stars. I'd add EvanTube to the list. Newsweek calls him The Most Popular Kid You've Never Heard Of, with 272 million views of his engagi

posted 3:59:29pm Sep. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Fifty Years of Fiddler on the Roof
The Yiddish-language stories of Sholem Alechim, collected as Tevye the Dairyman and The Railroad Stories (Library of Yiddish Classics), inspired one of the most successful, influential, and widely performed Broadway musicals of all time, "Fiddler on the Roof," which opened fifty years ago this week.

posted 8:00:47am Sep. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Great Cinematographers on Instagram
Indiewire has a gorgeous array of Instagram feeds from Hollywood cinematographers. Be sure to talke a look so you can follow them.

posted 8:00:27am Sep. 19, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.