Tebow Ad Much Softer Than Thought---But Nonetheless Criticized

February 8 2010, 10:13 AM

During yesterday's Super Bowl advertising blitz, one commercial forever changed the game. It waded outside the usual bounds of provocative and fun, into the stuffy worlds of religion, morality, and politics, as Yahoo! Sports writes. Yet Focus on the Family's ad featuring Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow wasn't the no-holds-barred, anti-abortion screed many expected. Rather, the Colorado Springs evangelical group's commercial was soft on the themes, pushing them nonetheless. In the ad, Pam Tebow holds a baby photo of Tim, now 22, saying, "I call him my miracle baby. He almost didn't make it into this world.... You know, with all our family's been through, we have to be tough." The tagline, "Celebrate Family. Celebrate Life," refers viewers to Focus' Web site. NOW president Terry O'Neill rails against the ad: "I think CBS should be ashamed of itself," she tells The Los Angeles Times. Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker also launches some criticism at the ad, theorizing that "what we're seeing here is FF backing away from a more aggressive statement in order to get its spots on CBS' air. The result is classic bad advertising: The personalities on display distract from the message this deeply conservative organization wants to spread." Tucker adds that the real controversy is CBS' decision to reject an ad from the gay dating service Mancrunch.com. "No matter how benignly phrased the Tebow ad is, it's advertising for a conservative organization, as opposed to the rejected ad, with its presumed liberal politics."