Ad sparks controversy among Super Bowl fans

February 7, 2010 5:42:57 PM PST
Most people watching the Super Bowl Sunday were paying as much attention to the commercials, as they were the game. But, even before the kickoff, one controversial ad had people talking.

Super Bowl fans came for the beer, the food and the touchdowns. But, this year, they also got a shot of politics mixed in.

"Everybody treats him like he's different. But, to me he's just my baby. He's my Timmy and I love him," goes one ad billed as the most controversial ad of the 2010 big game.

Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother starred in an anti-abortion ad for the conservative group "Focus on the Family." Their story was that Pam Tebow ignored doctors' advice to terminate her pregnancy when she became ill. Instead, she gave birth to the son she now calls her "miracle baby."

Before it hit the airwaves the buzz alone sparked protests, but some pro-choicers questioned the final outcome.

"The ad is short on content, but what it's saying is that there's something morally good about a women carrying a pregnancy to term, any pregnancy," said protest organizer Teiko Redmonde.

The word "abortion" is never specifically mentioned in the ad, but the spot directs viewers to the Focus on the Family website where the anti-abortion message is clear. Even though millions saw the commercial, some marketing experts call it a risky advertising strategy.

"You also have to think about what people are consuming during the game, pizza, chips and beer," said professor of marketing at Golden Gate University Michal Strahilevitz. "And, so people are not in the mood to have a serious debate."

At one Super Bowl bash in San Francisco's Marina District, few seemed to even notice the controversy playing out before them.

"Nobody wants to see a commercial about, something as political as that," said Karen Sung. "That's not what they're watching the Super Bowl for."

Exactly how much Focus on the Family paid for the ad, CBS would not say. But, this year, the network charged about $3 million for 30-second Super Bowl spot.