Super Bowl Ads: Anti-abortion, yes — gay romance, well, maybe

Super Bowl watchers at this house tend to be interested in the ball game. But elsewhere, apparently, the star attractions are the commercials. If you get bored in between the ads, you can even keep your laptop handy and bring up winners — winner commercials, that is — from past decades.

Being only mildly interested in this year’s game and not the least bit interested in whatever is on sale for a gazillion dollars a minute, I had been blissfully unaware of the hype and hysteria surrounding the event — until an e-mail earlier today asking if I knew anything about the anti-choice ad scheduled and simultaneous rejection of an ad that could be termed pro-gay. I did not, but as it turns out, NPR does:

This year, CBS is airing an anti-abortion commercial featuring college football star Tim Tebow, with his mother. The ad is sponsored by the conservative group Focus on the Family. Within a few weeks of that ad’s approval, CBS turned down a commercial for the Super Bowl produced by a new gay dating site called ManCrunch.com.

The Tebow and ManCrunch ads raise questions about not just what networks want in Super Bowl advertisements, but also what potential advertisers really want from the Super Bowl.

The 30-second ManCrunch ad shows two guys on a couch watching a football game. They’re rooting for their respective teams. Then, they both reach for potato chips at the same time. Their hands touch. The music builds. Then they kiss — rather comically.

I have a few problems with Focus on the Family. I have a LOT of problems with those who would have us return to the horrors of pre-Roe v Wade. Without roaming around the site a great deal I think I have a few problems with ManCrunch — but I’m not exactly their target audience. I had no problem at all, before now, with Tim Tebow, who seems a pretty good guy.

But suddenly there are problems all over. Emily’s List is petitioning CBS to toss the Tebow ad. The ad has its own, fast-growing Facebook fan club for crying out loud. Planned Parenthood is weighing in with a YouTube video in response to the tempest in the Tebow teapot.

ManCrunch, meanwhile, left out in the cold with their ad that reportedly cost $100,000, has gotten at least twice that much publicity and will probably have their own Facebook fan club before it’s all over.

Are you ready for some football?

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