Commercial’s intent trumped by politics


Twist Off at Haggin Field on Tuesday, Oct. 6 2009. Photo by Zach Brake

Column by Matthew Christy

Tim Tebow made history during the Super Bowl by appearing in a pro-life advertisement with his mother.

The ad, paid for by Focus on the Family, centered on his mother’s choice to see through her pregnancy and deliver Tim Tebow.

If you are going to have a commercial about the abortion debate, this is how it should be done. Rather than focusing on dead babies and Roe v. Wade, which seems to detonate the pro-life camp’s outreach to the masses, this ad focused on choices.

The ad was not about taking away a woman’s right to choose, and it was not about spooking audiences, it was about a family.

Tebow has always been a cultural black sheep, something I respected him for.

He stood up in a culture dominated by sexuality and openly stated his choice to save sex until marriage. This should not have been as shocking as it was, but he handled the attention it brought him maturely without being judgmental of others.

In doing so, Tebow became a role model for kids who felt pressured into sex, allowing them to say “no” and giving them someone they can look up to without necessarily having to share his religion.

In the Super Bowl ad, Tebow was again trying to make it socially acceptable to voice our beliefs, popular or unpopular, taboo or not.

At one level, this should be a non-issue. Everyone has the right to tell their story and express what they believe was a good decision — especially if that story involves giving birth to a future college football star.

However, it is an issue.

Tebow’s mother struggled over whether or not to continue with her pregnancy after falling ill and being advised by doctors to abort the pregnancy. Presenting his mother as an authority on the subject because she gave birth to an athlete is dangerous.

More dangerous, I would say, is that CBS chose to run this ad but refused to run an ad from a gay dating service despite a long-standing tradition of beer commercials displaying straight sexuality.

By running a politically charged advertisement CBS took a political leaning which I don’t believe belongs in Super Bowl advertising; right and left wing advertisement should either run together as they come or not at all.

CBS would never run an image as supposedly shocking as two men kissing. It is not CBS’s place to decide which social issues are and are not fit for our eyes. If they don’t have the guts to allow an ad dealing with a gay dating site, they shouldn’t tackle abortion.

I think the advertisement was a step forward. People on both sides of the abortion debate would benefit from having a more open dialogue about their lives and views that involves less name calling and accusations.

That said, Super Bowl advertisements are not the time or place for such dialogue to occur. There can’t be an open and honest discussion when 30 seconds of air time costs millions of dollars, and all advertisements have to pass inspection at CBS.

I hope people support and rebut the views in the commercial using the same style the commercial was presented in, but not while I am trying to watch sports.