Thoughts on the Tebow ad

February 1, 2010
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By now, you probably know about the ad featuring University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow slated to run during the Super Bowl, and you probably have an opinion about it.

Ben Carlson, chief strategy officer at local ad agency Bradley and Montgomery, comes down squarely on waving a First Amendment green flag. CBS shouldn’t reject ads that clear FCC decency rules, Carlson says, and that includes the pro-life ad in which Tebow’s mother discusses why she gave birth against advice of a doctor who worried about her health, instead of terminating the pregnancy.

The ad, expected to cost between $2.5 million and $3 million, is funded by Focus on the Family to steer people toward services offered by the Colorado pro-life organization.

Carlson says the Tebow ad actually could be considered a failure in terms of return on investment. Companies and organizations have come to the point of hoping their proposals are rejected in order to generate buzz and avoid having to pay for the ads. Bradley and Montgomery, which specializes in national accounts (none headquartered in Indianapolis), has fielded the request at least once.

Gauging the success of the Tebow ad will be difficult, Carlson says. It depends on how Focus on the Family intends to measure results. Is it awareness? Contacts? Changes in political views? Ultimately, the ad will reach a broad spectrum of people because of the reach of the game.

What do you think about advocacy ads during the Super Bowl? Is it just a game, thus entertainment, or should it also be a forum for issues? Now that the door has been opened for more than anti-drug messages, how far should CBS go?

  • Choice ?
    There was no choice here - and I doubt she was counseled to have an abortion. Abortion was very illegal in the Phillipenes at that time - and any abortion provider was subbject to 6 years incarceration. This commercial is built on a lie.
    • Ultimate Party Foul
      What do I think about advocacy ads during the Super Bowl? Bad thinking in every way.

      Way to kill an otherwise fun evening, Mrs. Tebow.
      • Ad Response
        Lawyer -- If the ad is based on a lie then that is not good. Do you truly know that her doctor did not suggest abortion? Mere speculation is what you provide. But even if the same ad was run based on a fictional-hypothetical story, then I think the ad still has appeal to many viewers. You are free to not watch it when it's on and I am free to tivo it if I choose. Either way, no human life is being harmed. Have a good day.
      • Ad Response
        MDB -- Ads are meant to influenc choices, not to provide us with fun. As a former kid myself, I don't ever recall wanting to go watch commercials with my friends -- it wasn't as fun as playing football or Yatzee. So I think ads that invoke thoughts are acceptable too during a Super Bowl. Not all commercials need to be all about fun. Life is not all about the pursuit of fun and I doubt this Tebow ad will seriously cause "fun" to come to a screetching halt at Super Bowl parties everywhere. My thought is do not watch the commercials during the Super Bowl if you do not find them to your liking. That is your choice, and no one is being harmed. Of note, in life I have found beer consumption to needlessly cause folks to die or be jailed. It seems some folks pursue beer consumption thinking "fun" will be found at the bottom of the bottle(s). But said folks eventually find that their pursuit of "fun" was killed when they made foolish/harmful choices under the influence of beer. So when I see a beer commercial I do not find it fun because I believe the commercial tries to influence viewers that beer consumption is fun. Beer is tasty I must admit, but it should not be portayed as providing mounds of fun. So, when I am with my young son I choose that we do not watch those commercials. I would not want him to be influenced by such commercials. And who knows, maybe the Tebow ad will somehow cause a pregnant woman to choose life instead of an abortion -- and that will make this year's Super Bowl the best ever for that unborn child in her womb.
      • Why an exception for FOTF?
        We should not be bombarded with advocacy ads of any sort during the Super Bowl. CBS is showing the worst kind of hypocrisy here. They have rejected advocacy ads in the past for progressive causes such as gay rights and even from religious groups such as the United Church of Christ. Why is the policy being changed for Focus on the Family, a conservative religious group? Come on, CBS. Be consistent here. Don't favor one side over the other. If ads for progressive causes during the Super Bowl aren't okay, then ads for conservative causes aren't either.
      • Super Bowl Ad
        And now the liberals are complaining that they want everything to be "fair". You have to be joshing me, SB. Where has all the fairness been on the side of the media for the past 25 years?

      • Just Bad Advice
        Assuming the commercial is all true, it gives bad advice based on one woman's incredibly good luck with her high risk pregnancy.

        It basically urges pregnant women to ignore their doctors' advice to have an abortion for medical reasons and everything will turn out ok.

        What are the statistics on women who refuse to have an abortion when doctors recommend one? How many beat the odds and have perfectly healthy children or themselves survive when the pregnancy endangered their life?
        • Where's the Choice?
          These groups are so hypocritical, they say they are pro choice, but they only want girls to hear about their chosen choice.
        • @Tim
          Tim, typically I would try to throw some ideas your way, but you just made me stop and actually think about it. When a mother decides to keep the baby despite health risks on child and/or mother and one or both survive, I do wonder what the stats are on that.

          My question now is, what are the stats in each direction? How many babies and/or mothers die when doctors say that there are medical complications which can result in death? How many survive? Do we actually have enough evidence to support the safety of parent/child(ren) to swing one way or the other? If Mother has abortion (legal or otherwise), how safe is it and how will it affect her for future pregnancies (if she chooses to keep child)? What are the options for the parent and child if parent chooses to have child? Will you support the idea of pro-life and making sure that mother and child can survive and have a fighting chance at life (like a good education and good nutrition and health - reguardless of how much they make)?

          And for those who think that Pro-Choice is only PRO-Abortion, think about this, Pro-Choice is different. It is CHOICE, which means CHOOSING life or abortion. Pro-Abortion means that person is for abortion. Not all ProChoicers would leap for abortions, but have something called Choice. I am sorry if I offend you on this, but I hold no opinion on the pro-life, pro-abortion, pro-choice debate, but find it quite funny that people get their panties all up in a bunch if what they opposed is publiced. If you don't like it, don't read it, don't watch it, don't listen to it. There is a mute button, a channel changer button, and an off button. if you don't approve something that a tv channel shows, you can easily change the channel or just not watch tv at all. IT IS YOUR CHOICE.
        • Why be afraid of a 30 second commercial?
          Nothing ruins a good buzz like a moment of clarity.
        • It's the original argument
          Tim, I can think of two moms off the time of my head. One's daughter graduated from Purdue last spring. Another's son died within a few days of birth. Still, the family valued the time with him.
          It's the original, classic argument against abortion - maybe the aborted baby would have found a cure for cancer, Nobel Peace prize winner.. who knows? Tim Tebow is an outstanding athlete despite warnings of his health in utero. He's a football star. I'd be interested in what ad gays could come up with that ties into football. Just wondering.
        • Tebow
          Thank you for your willingness to take a stand, Mr. Tebow. No questions were rasied when they wanted to promote viagra ads at the super bowl a few years ago. Please. Get your morales straight.
        • The Set Up...
          I can't resist. That last comment, "Get your morals straight"... isn't that what Viagra does? HA!

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