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Advertising / Super Bowl / Marketing / Media & Marketing / Sports Business

Thoughts on the Tebow ad

February 1, 2010

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?

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