Monday, 08 February 2010

Light-hearted Tebow Super Bowl Ad Disarms Critics

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Tebow adA 30-second Super Bowl ad, which pro-abortion and feminist groups had feared would offer a strong pro-life, anti-abortion message, instead did what the its sponsor said it would: celebrate family and life. The ad, in keeping with the comic tone of the majority of the advertisements running during the game, featured Pam Tebow, the mother of college football standout Tim Tebow, reminiscing about the struggles she faced in seeing her future Heisman Trophy-winning son come into the world.

“I call him my miracle baby,” Mrs. Tebow begins in the commercial. “He almost didn’t make it into this world. I can remember so many times when I almost lost him. It was so hard.”

In the ad, Mrs. Tebow subtly alludes to when she was ill during an overseas missions trip while she was pregnant with Tim. Doctors at the time had advised her to have an abortion. Throughout the week leading up to the Super Bowl, pro-abortion activists waged a non-stop media campaign against the commercial under the mistaken notion that Focus on the Family would use the ad as an overt anti-abortion platform. Instead, nowhere is abortion even hinted at in the ad.

After a few seconds of telling the audience about the struggles her son had in being born, Mrs. Tebow says cheerfully, “Well he’s all grown up now, and I still worry about his health. You know, with all our family’s been through, you have to be tough…”

Here the ad takes an unexpected, absurd twist — all in keeping with the silly themes of nearly all of the ads that ran during the Super Bowl. Tim Tebow, who up until now has been absent from the ad, rushes in from off-camera, tackling his mother like the 300-pound defensive linemen he faced throughout his college career.

While in real life the hit the future NFL quarterback put on his mom would have done some real damage, in the commercial Mrs. Tebow hops up effortlessly, playfully rebuking her son, “Timmy! I’m trying to tell our story here.” Like a loving son, Tim hugs his mom and responds, “Sorry about that, Mom. You still worry about me…?" To which Mrs. Tebow responds, “Well, yeah, you’re not nearly as tough as I am.”

The ad closes by inviting viewers to find out more about Tim Tebow’s birth story by visiting Focus on the Family’s website.

While Focus on the Family reportedly paid an estimated $2.5 million for the 30-second spot, the publicity the group received because of attacks from its critics was priceless. Nearly every day, feminist and pro-abortion groups introduced a new tactic in an effort to denigrate Focus on the Family and pressure CBS officials to change their minds on running the ad.

Without having even previewed the ad, leaders of the Women’s Media Center urged women to sign a petition to CBS, arguing that the ad was “surrealistic” in its pro-life message. Wrongly assuming that Focus on the Family would give the abortion issue center stage, the National Organization for Women demanded that CBS pull the plug on the spot, saying that the abortion issue “has no place in the Super Bowl.” One high-profile attorney, Gloria Allred, even threatened to lodge a complaint with the FCC and FTC if the ad included what she claimed were inaccuracies in the Tebow’s inspiring story.

While media experts applauded Focus on the Family for creating a strategy that built millions of dollars in free pre-ad publicity, much of it coming from its own critics, the group’s leader said this was not their intention. “I’ve seen this called a brilliant marketing strategy,” said Focus on the Family’s CEO Jim Daly. “Well, I can assure you this was not something where we sat down to demonstrate brilliance.” Daly told USA Today that the group’s publicity department put the ad idea together, and the organization decided the Super Bowl was an ideal venue to air it.

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