Commercial Culture Wars

You might want to schedule your beer refills and bathroom breaks during the actual game this year because word on the street is Super Bowl commercials will be as juicy as ever this time around.

As it turns out, more people tune in for Super Bowl ads than for the actual football game (51 percent compared to 49 percent), according to a Nielsen Co. survey from last month.

The coveted 39-second commercial slots go for as much as $2.8 million, down from $3 million last year. CBS had companies vying for the 45 minutes of ad space, but the network has the last say on what gets in.

It’s pretty clear why an ad of a man running over a woman for a bag of Doritos chips didn’t make the cut, but why not a commercial for a gay dating site that shows man-on-man action? A little out there for football watchers, perhaps.

The most controversial ad centers around a certain A-word that shall not be named. (okay, I give in… “a-bor-tion.”)

The incensing ad supposedly features Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow’s mother Pam talking about how, while pregnant with Tim, doctors advised her to abort the fetus because of expected fetal damages. Pam ignored the warnings and had the baby that would grow up to be a professional football player.

One point for the pro-life side.

But, wait, before you flip the score card…this just in: While pregnant, Mrs. Tebow was living in the Philippines where abortion is illegal. Will the commercial admit the fact that abortion wasn’t technically an option for Mrs. Tebow?

Women’s rights advocate and attorney Gloria Allred said the Focus on the Family advocacy ad would be misleading if it didn’t include all the details of the story.

And president of Women’s Media Center Jehmu Greene quipped on Fox News that “This is clearly a thinly veiled attempts to undermine a woman’s right to make reproductive rights.”

Planned Parenthood retaliated with an ad that references the Tebow commercial with former Viking Sean James and Olympic gold medalist Al Joyner saying they “respect and honor” Mrs. Tebow’s choice and that only women can make the best decisions about their health and their futures. “We’re working towards the day when every woman’s decision about her health and her family will be respected […] We celebrate our families by trusting women.”

One point for the pro-lifers.

But, before we get ahead of ourselves, how about a reality check?

No one has seen the ad yet. Focus on the Family hasn’t even released the script to anyone but CBS, who contradicting a longstanding policy to not run advocacy ads, approved the segment.

Planned Parenthood hasn’t bought any commercial time to air their public service announcement and a spokesperson for the organization said it felt their money was better spent on its health centers.

Though CBS plans to run the Tebow ad, the network nixed one for the Internet domain service The company’s “Lola” ad racked up nearly 190,000 views on YouTube. It features a flamboyant football retire turned lingerie tycoon frolicking around with undressed women, pursing his lips at all the right moments.

And an ad by a gay-dating site that depicts two male sports fans cheering—and kissing—after a touchdown also won’t appear during the Super Bowl. Despite over 540,000 YouTube views, CBS rejected the ManCrunch commercial.

Doritos is better off not running this ad. Running people over in your car to get a bag of chips isn’t funny.

But CBC may have had its head up its ass on this one. This KGB directory assistance ad is funny, right?

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