Many who watched the Super Bowl this weekend saw the Focus on the Family commercial featuring Tim Tebow. Just as many didn’t. The brief commercial caught many unawares (in a couple of different ways), and people flocked to the Internet to find out either what they missed or to try to see what the fuss was really about. The Focus on the Family website featured not the ad itself, but rather several videos talking about the ad, the pro-life message, and Focus on the Family. (The ad became available later.)
If you have watched the ad, you know that a more innocuous commercial has never aired on television. In fact, it led ESPN.com to poll users “If not for the controversy circulated in previous days, would you have known what the Tebow ad was about?” (paraphrased). The last time I checked, 85% said “No” and 15% claimed “yes”, they would have known what the ad was about. I’m inclined to doubt the 15%.
If you were disappointed that Focus on the Family and the Tebow family did not use this commercial opportunity to make a more powerful statement, don’t be. Focus on the Family executed a masterful campaign.
What made it so masterful? Let’s be real here. Focus on the Family must have known that there was very little chance that a strongly pro-life advertisement would be passed by the network censors. They accepted that premise, and worked within the established parameters. Simply put, they got an advertisement aired during the Super Bowl that was blatantly pro-life without containing a blatantly pro-life (or anti-abortion) message.
And by doing that, Focus was able to generate the buzz that made the whole thing worthwhile. They put out bait that was bit on by media, pro-life advocacy groups, and pro-abortion advocacy groups. My guess is that millions were exposed to a pro-life message both prior to the Super Bowl, during the Super Bowl, and after the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood and other like-minded organizations, who objected strenuously to the ad’s airing, look like they majorly overreacted.
It is very difficult to gauge the net worth of a campaign like this—any meaningful statistics that are produced by Focus and allies will be some time in coming, if they appear at all. This is because the meaningful statistics will be the number of babies saved, not the number of people who viewed the advertisement.
However, this is a very good example of how pro-life organizations can take advantage of “perfect opportunities” to create a media sensation around the pro-life message.
An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:
Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!
Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($12,827 to go):
All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!
Posted by: cecercia5768 -
Feb. 09, 2010 9:39 PM ET USA
The really "Pro-Family / Pro-Life" ad during the Super Bowl was the GOOGLE one: Guy goes to Parisian cafe, meets girl, falls in love, gets married IN A CHURCH NO LESS! they have a baby..... can't get much more pro-family... pro-marriage... pro-life than that! Good Job GOOGLE!
Posted by: jmilloy46427 -
Feb. 09, 2010 8:16 PM ET USA
I did not see the ad, as I did not watch the Superbowl, but the pro-abortion folks concern was laughable. Having been active in prolife work for more years than I care to remember, I was initially moved when I first heard the Tebow story, when he was awarded the Heisman Trophy. I am glag that more folks were able to hear this story. Joan
Posted by: jbryant_132832 -
Feb. 09, 2010 4:48 PM ET USA
I totally agree - this was a masterpiece of PR and web marketing. A secondary benefit was exposing the pro-aborts for just how pathological they are. NOW president Terry O'Neill said the ad glorified violence against women.