Several years ago, CBS rejected Superbowl ads from MoveOn.org, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the United Church of Christ, which advocates gay rights. So their decision this year to run a Focus on the Family sponsored ad featuring former Florida Gator football star Tim Tebow and his mother (who was encouraged to abort Tim due to pregnancy complications) has naturally raised a few eyebrows.
CBS has acknowledged that it has changed its policy with regard to issue advertisements in the Superbowl. And they’ve assured all critics that the Tebow commercial has been fully vetted:
A CBS spokesman said the Tebow commercial was subjected to the “full standards process that all ads go through” and accepted only after the script was reviewed.
The development is interesting in light of NBC rejecting a (similarly positive) pro-life ad last year that depicted Obama as an unborn child:
I’m glad CBS is sticking by the commercial. But I don’t think we should conclude that CBS is necessarily being more virtuous. Economics may be the more dominant factor. As the LA Times recently explained:
CBS’ decision on the Tebow ad comes as networks and TV stations have struggled for revenue amid a weak advertising market. Until recently, networks were routinely able to command higher rates each year for Super Bowl commercials, but that ended with the recession. CBS has been selling 30-second spots in the Feb. 7 Super Bowl for about $2.7 million each — slightly less than NBC was able to command for last year’s game — and still has some advertising time left to sell.
General Motors, Pepsico and Fedex are all staying away from the Super Bowl, according to a study by ad researcher TNS Media Intelligence. The upshot? Maybe I missed it, but has a pro-abortion-rights group sought to sponsor a gentle, gracious, issue-oriented Superbowl ad in support of their message? That might be a better strategy for them, rather than simply condemning CBS’s legitimate business decision to air a tasteful ad about a mother’s decision regarding her son. (And after all, who are the champions of a woman’s right to choose?)
HT: Sarah Pulliam Bailey