Long-awaited Te­bow ad airs on Su­per Bowl with soft-sell an­tiabor­tion mes­sage

Cape Breton Post - - FOOD FOCUS -

NEW YORK (AP) — Even the lon­gawaited Su­per Bowl ad from con­ser­va­tive group Fo­cus on the Fam­ily came with a punch line Sun­day night.

The 30-sec­ond “Cel­e­brate fam­ily, cel­e­brate life” ad star­ring Heis­man win­ner Tim Te­bow ended with a sur­prise — Tim Te­bow tackling his mother af­ter she says she nearly lost him dur­ing her preg­nancy. The pair jokes that they have to be “tough” with all the fam­ily has been through.

The com­mer­cial sparked de­bate be­fore it was even broad­cast, and some groups called for CBS not to air it. The ad did not air on CTV’s Canada.

The ad is the first such ad­vo­cacy ad to ap­pear in tele­vi­sion’s most-watched broad­cast, which draws about 100 mil­lion view­ers. It aired early in the first quar­ter.

The com­mer­cial, which shows just Te­bow and his mother, Pam, against a white back­drop, does not con­tain an overt an­tiabor­tion mes­sage. In­stead it sends peo­ple to Fo­cus on the Fam­ily’s web­site, which tells more of the Te­bows’ story and of­fers a more straight­for­ward mes­sage.

The de­vout quar­ter­back’s mother gave birth to him in the


in Philip­pines in 1987 af­ter spurn­ing a doc­tor’s ad­vice to have an abor­tion for med­i­cal rea­sons.

“ I can re­mem­ber so many times when I al­most lost him,” Pam Te­bow said in de­scrib­ing her preg­nancy.

The ad was “ very gen­tle”, which was sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing how much talk it gen­er­ated be­fore it even aired, said Tim Calkins, a mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sor at Kel­logg School of Man­age­ment at North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity. He said the use of hu­mour helped make the ad more ac­ces­si­ble — and not off-putting to most peo­ple — al­though the ad’s mes­sage was hid­den, which makes it less ef­fec­tive and con­fus­ing to peo­ple who weren’t fa­mil­iar with it.

“I think they took a very in­ter­est­ing strat­egy. It’s clearly an ef­fort to steer away from con­tro­versy,” he said. “I sus­pect the peo­ple they were go­ing af­ter un­der­stood the mes­sage, but ... for most peo­ple, I don’t think the ad re­ally did a lot for them.”

But be­cause the ad was so sub­tle and had so much mys­tery to it, it will get peo­ple whose minds are not made up about the abor­tion de­bate to eval­u­ate the group’s agenda, said Charles R. Tay­lor, pro­fes­sor of mar­ket­ing at Vil­lanova School of Busi­ness.

“ To the ex­tent that there are peo­ple that they can in­flu­ence this prob­a­bly does a good job of driv­ing them to the web­site and get­ting them to check it out. I think it’s much more ef­fec­tive than some­thing more ex­plicit would have been,” he said.

The Women’s Me­dia Cen­ter, which had ob­jected to Fo­cus on the Fam­ily ad­ver­tis­ing in the Su­per Bowl, said it was ex­pect­ing a “ be­nign” ad but not the hu­mour. But the group’s pres­i­dent, Jehmu Greene, said the tackle showed an un­der­cur­rent of vi­o­lence against women.

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