SBD/Issue 94/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Super Bowl Ads: Tebow Surprised By Focus On The Family Attention

Tebow Did Not Expect So Much Buzz
About His Super Bowl Ad Appearance
Former Univ. of Florida QB Tim Tebow yesterday said that he is "surprised by the attention" the Focus on the Family Super Bowl ad is generating, according to Ben Volin of the PALM BEACH POST. Tebow, who appears in the ad alongside his mother, said, "I definitely didn't think it would have this much hype, this much buzz. I know some people won't agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe, and I'm never shy about that." Tebow, currently participating in workouts ahead of the Senior Bowl, noted that the allegedly pro-life commercial "has not come up in any of the interviews he has conducted so far with NFL teams." He said, "If anything (the teams) like that I took a stand for what I believe. And if they don't ... then it probably wouldn't be a good fit for me in the first place, because I'm never going to deny what I believe in" (PALM BEACH POST, 1/28).

LOOKING TO CASH IN: In Boston, Ron Borges writes by accepting the Focus on the Family spot, CBS is showing that the Super Bowl is designed "to sell TV spots," and not to "bring Americans together." Borges speculates the net accepted the commercial because "with less than 10 days to go before the Super Bowl airs, CBS still has unsold spots, a circumstance born from the collapsing economy" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/28). NBCSPORTS.com's Mike Celizic wrote CBS plans to run the spot because it "needs the money." Celizic: "There is no other reason -- and certainly no good reason -- for anyone, including a television executive, to decide that the ethical standards which had stood for generations are suddenly no more worth preserving than that hairball the cat just coughed up." CBS will "still have standards, except they'll be based on money and who'll be upset." But Celizic contends neither CBS "nor any other network will take an ad from an atheist group whose message is there is no heaven, no hell and no god," because that "would tick off the paying customers" (NBCSPORTS.com, 1/26). In Chicago, Jim O'Donnell writes CBS "must be desperate to sell out remaining ad inventory" for the February 7 game. The network's decision is "wretchedly inappropriate." O'Donnell: "At any point in time, did the CBS jambones consider the across-the-board implications of their decision?" The legacy of CBS' decision "will be a dicey one to the NFL and all future sports programming" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/28). In West Palm Beach, Dave George predicts the spot will "be the last of its kind for CBS and other networks in the Super Bowl rotation." If the ad runs, "it will be because no boycott threat is sufficient enough to push CBS affiliates into withholding the exclusive Super Bowl broadcast from their respective markets" (PALM BEACH POST, 1/28).

NOT THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD: In Birmingham, Ray Melick writes, "I'd rather watch an ad that makes me think than one that makes me blush, which happens too often as it is." Melick: "If one commercial actually causes us to question something, is that really so dangerous?" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 1/28). An AUGUSTA CHRONICLE editorial stated CBS "seems to be sticking to its guns" in regards to airing the ad, and has in fact "more or less invited other advocacy groups to air tastefully produced ads." The editorial: "And why not? Shouldn't we be celebrating free speech, rather than trying to curtail it?" (AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, 1/27).

KEEPING THE WRONG COMPANY: In Orlando, Scott Maxwell wrote his "only beef" with Tebow's decision to participate in the spot "has to do with the group he has chosen to hook up with." Focus on the Family "does more than promote alternatives to abortion." The group is "responsible for some of the most divisive and intolerant, religious-based campaigns of our time, opposing everything from human rights to diversity." Maxwell: "Someone who wants to spread an abortion message would be more effective by teaming up with a group that has less baggage and is more respected by more Americans" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 1/27).

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