The Super Bowl is the most-watched television program in America. It draws an average audience of 106.5 million viewers. 50 percent of viewers keep the volume up during its renowned commercials, and 15 percent of viewers tune in for the commercials only. The 42 minutes of commercials during the Super Bowl have become known for pushing the limits of what is considered acceptable to network censors, the FCC, and the public. Many advertisers like Go Daddy and PETA submit ads knowing they will be rejected, content with the publicity obtained from the controversy.
Increasingly more risque ads are being accepted. At the same time, ads with a Christian message are flat-out rejected.
Fox, which broadcasts the Super Bowl, has a policy prohibiting ads that contain religious advocacy. It states, “As a matter of company policy, Fox Broadcasting Company does not accept advertising from religious organizations for the purpose of advancing particular beliefs or practices.”
40% of major sports games contain ads for male-erectile enhancement, something clearly inappropriate for children. Why are erectile dysfunction commercials acceptable while religious advocacy is not?
This year, a commercial featuring a quarterback with “John 3:16” written as dark smudges beneath his eyes was rejected. The Christian message in the ad was subtle, just some fans watching football and wondering what “John 3:16” meant when the camera panned in on the athlete. For Fox to find it offensive is a stretch, considering football players frequently huddle in prayer on the field and thank Jesus after they score.
Commercials that were approved to run this year included another racy commercial from Go Daddy featuring its “Go Daddy Girls” appearing seemingly naked, a Doritos commercial promoting the gay lifestyle, and a suggestive commercial for Sketchers footwear featuring sex tape reality star Kim Kardashian suggestively prancing around in skimpy skintight clothing.
By rejecting the Christian ad, Fox put it in the same category as several truly revolting ads it also rejected. One was for an adultery-promoting website. Another featured bobbleheads of Jesus and Obama. The Jesus bobblehead is wearing a robe that says, “Jesus hates Obama.” The Obama bobblehead falls down into a dish of water. A Pepsi-Doritos ad that was rejected portrayed Pepsi and Doritos as the wine and bread of the Eucharist. PETA’s ad featured semi-nude women suggestively eating vegetables.
Go Daddy has helped drive the trend of running the raciest ads during the Super Bowl. 38 of their ads have been rejected. Their ads usually feature scantily-clad voluptuous women behaving inappropriately. One of the ads, which showed a woman in a skimpy top breaking a strap, was so inappropriate Fox pulled it before it could air again later during the game.
The only commercials with religious overtones that are permitted during the Super Bowl are so watered down it is difficult to discern anything religious about them. Last year, a commercial was permitted to air from Focus on the Family featuring football star Tim Tebow and his mother discussing how he barely survived a difficult birth. There was nothing religious about it, and most viewers probably had no idea it promoted a prolife viewpoint. A CatholicVote.com ad that did not mention religion, showing an ultrasound of a baby that was presumably Obama, was rejected in 2009.
Advertisers do not need to promote sex in order to sell. The vast majority of popular Super Bowl ads are appropriate for all ages, and can be just as memorable as a scandalous sexual ad. The top five most popular Super Bowl ads feature athletes, Apple, and other nonsexual topics.
Large companies that service many people have a moral obligation to the public and children to keep the content of their advertising appropriate. Scantily-clad women behaving badly set a poor example for young impressionable girls, who would be better off viewing a Christian moral message. Sadly, Fox is almost as much to blame as the advertisers, increasingly lowering the standards for Super Bowl ads while at the same time shunning Christian messages that close to 85% of the population believe in.
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