The Super Bowl is a cultural phenomenon. It's not only watched by godzillions of people worldwide, it's the only televised broadcast where the audience tunes in not just for the game, but for the commercials. The top-dollar, high-profile advertising space has led to some unforgettable commercials over the years.
Sometimes, the ad is so remarkable it becomes a word-of-mouth sensation before it even airs, before anyone has even seen it. It's happened again this year.
CBS has decided to accept an ad from a politically involved group and caused a firestorm with the radical Left because that group is proudly Christian.
The conservative Christian group Focus on the Family plans to air a commercial featuring Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, who will tell the story of how doctors told her she should have an abortion, and she refused that exercise of "choice." Pam Tebow was a missionary in the Philippines and had contracted dysentery, and the medicine had a chance of causing birth defects.
It is an ultra-positive story celebrating life itself, a story of a mother who kept her baby, who became a famous football hero. And so-called "feminist" groups have exploded in fury, demanding CBS censor the ad.
The Women's Media Center wrote a letter signed by an array of feminist organizations. They projected the ad would be "disastrous" for CBS, and it throws women "under the bus" and "endangers women's health." They even suggested pro-life ads resulted in "escalated violence" against abortionists. "We sincerely hope you do not want CBS associated with this brand of un-American hate."
Words like these might make a scintilla of sense if Focus on the Family were running some kind of hardcore, negative ad with inflammatory abortion images. But that's not the message, and they know it. The Tebow ad is not far removed from the positive pro-life ads run by the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation during the Clinton years with the slogan "Life. What a beautiful choice."
Isn't it a little strange to see people who present themselves as "pro-choice" get so upset when someone suggests their choice was to keep the baby? They can't seem to make any mental allowance for people to promote making a pro-life choice in a permissive society. They sound silly when they proclaim they are groups united in "tolerance" -- and then demand CBS should "immediately cancel this ad and refuse any other advertisement promoting Focus on the Family's agenda."
It's especially noteworthy when libertines demand something be removed from television before they've even seen it. I haven't seen it either, but I will bet some serious money that millions of viewers at home will see the warm-hearted Tebow ad and ask in amazement, "What in the world was wrong with that?"
These hardcore leftists argue that CBS is clearly breaking with the usual pattern of refusing Super Bowl ads with political overtones, and point to their recent rejection of MoveOn.org ads. But one need only see these and their dark, vicious, angry, negative overtones to understand why CBS turned them down.
Moreover, CBS has invited the protesters here to buy their own commercial and balance out Focus on the Family. No takers. They just want the Christian message censored.
And it's time we stop calling them "feminist" groups. Where are these advocates every year when CBS runs the sleazy Victoria's Secret Fashion Show? Where were they when Janet Jackson had her clothing ripped off on stage at the Super Bowl six years ago? Why don't they protest the sleazy "Go Daddy" Super Bowl spots?
Feminists did not write letters of protest when the Parents Television Council found that CBS led the networks with 118 violent story lines on women over the last five years. Feminists never protested CBS objectifying women in sleazy sitcoms like "Two and a Half Men."
The worst part of this overwrought controversy is the mud thrown at Tim Tebow's image before he plays a down of pro football. Advertising Age magazine is already going to experts who think this commercial will hurt his value as a celebrity endorser.
Chicago-based sports marketer John Rowady sneered at Tebow: "His promotion of his 'belief system' has built a perception throughout the league that he has a long way to mature from a business perspective, especially in the fast lane of the NFL."
Standing with your mother in an ad celebrating the choice of life makes Tebow "immature"? He should be considered radioactive, like he was now Tiger Woods or Michael Vick?
Making an ad like this ought to help advertisers see an endorser with character, not your stereotypical ego-addled, misbehaving professional athlete. It takes a maturity we're not used to seeing from pro athletes when they're a target of controversy. Tim Tebow has guts, not just on the football field, but in the game of life as well.