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Medium: Super Bowl advocacy ad

BY RACHAEL LANDER | FEBRUARY 03, 2010 7:30 AM

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In 2006, Sprint showed us the power of cell phones with crime deterrent — steal people’s wallets, and they’ll chuck their phones at your face. Two years later, Pepsi made women everywhere wish that all we really did need to bag Justin Timberlake was a sip of its refreshing soda.

But during this year’s Super Bowl, a new type of ad will garner attention — one that’s never been there before and shouldn’t be there now.

Tim Tebow, a name synonymous with Florida Gator football, the Heisman Trophy, and Christianity, will join his mother, Pam, in presenting a commercial advocating an anti-abortion stance. The ad, funded by Focus on the Family, will air during the Super Bowl — right in between those outrageous, expensive, commercials typically reserved for alcohol and chip promotion.

In theory, this comes as no surprise. Tebow is famous for his Christian viewpoint and for being an advocate for anti-abortion campaigns because of how closely the issue relates to him. While his mother was carrying him, she was reportedly advised by doctors to abort him because of pregnancy complications. But even with Tebow’s personal tie to the campaign, it does raise questions about why CBS would air such an ad during the most-watched program of the year. It even makes one wonder why Tebow would think it’s a good idea to publicly endorse it, because it will ultimately irk fans who disagree with him.

But problems surrounding the controversial ad don’t stop at bad PR decisions. Another major problem CBS faces is its one-sided promotion of a long-debated topic. Not having an open mind and airing a pro-choice ad without also showing an anti-abortion one is a direct insult to everyone who firmly believes in a woman’s right to choose.

The network has faced harsh backlash from its viewers because of this, and it’ll be interesting to see the future ramifications of CBS’ televising the ad. Not all can afford to shell out millions of dollars to promote their stances, which is precisely why CBS should continue to ban advocacy ads from the Super Bowl. It’s simply unfair.

It doesn’t even stop at biases. Super Bowl commercials — at least the popular ones — have a history of being sexist. In 2009 for example, Doritos aired an ad showing a woman’s clothes flying off when a man bit into a chip. Sure, it may have been entertaining, but why is the woman promoting the scandalous acts? Why not the man?

And why do we now have a man promoting an anti-abortion viewpoint, when really it’s an issue affecting women the most? It’s sexist. A man shouldn’t be a public figure for any anti-abortion or pro-choice ad, no matter which side he supports. That’s not to say men aren’t entitled to their opinions on the subject, but ultimately, it’s an issue that affects women and shouldn’t be subjected to Super Bowl propaganda.


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