Advertising and Advocacy

According to a CNNMoney.com report, “A 30-second spot sold for up to $3 million apiece, according to CBS. Super Bowl advertisers get charged a premium because so many people watch the game” (http://money.cnn.com/2010/02/01/news/companies/super_bowl_sold_out/index.htm).

As most know, one of those ad spots was purchased by Focus on the Family, and featured Tim Tebow and his mother.  It was highly publicized before airing, and I understand that it was “tweaked” a little to imply the anti-abortion message without making it explicit.

Personally, I thought the ad strange.  It was weird to see Tebow rush in from off-screen suddenly and tackle his mother.  Yes, I know it was CGI.  Still, it was strange.  Then, it was terribly cheesy to watch Tebow hug his mom, give a big goofy grin, and say something like “aw, Mom, are you still worrying about me?”  All I can say is that I was pleased he didn’t have on fake eye black with Bible verses written on them.  But, I digress.

What bothered me about this advertisement (and others like it) is the price tag.  I couldn’t find any stats other than the one listed above, so I don’t know the exact costs of the ad.  However, if the cost was upwards of $3 million dollars, it seems safe to assume that the cost to Focus on the Family was over $1 million.

So, my question is this: What difference does a $1 million ad do to persuade women considering an abortion to NOT have an abortion?  How does this ad make Focus on the Family pro-life?  Is it more pro-life to spend $1 million on a rather cheesy, vague, awkward, confusing, (annoying?) ad during the Super Bowl OR is it more pro-life to spend $1 million to give financial (and other means of) support women who are considering an abortion because of lack of income and/or to give financial (and other means of) support individuals and couples wanting to adopt?  Focus on the Family may already be doing these things, and, if so, I applaud them.  However, there seems to be a false idea that an ad by an organization that talks about their pro-life stance makes a difference.  By that logic it is pro-life to spend $1 million on an ad.

The truth is, such ads (and approaches like it) convince no one that the pro-life is the right/correct view.  It’s like the Josh McDowell books that uses the Bible to defend the Bible.  It’s only convincing if you accept the authority of the Bible.  In other words, it doesn’t help or convince anyone except those already holding the view of McDowell.  Likewise, the Focus on the Family Super Bowl ad does nothing to help lower abortion rates, because the only people who think the advertisement was good/helpful are those who already think like Focus on the Family.

So, wouldn’t it be more influential and pro-life to spend $1 million on programs that support people seeking to adopt and support women considering abortion for financial reasons or lack of family support or any other number of reasons?  Put another way, regardless of how you vote on the abortion issue, it seems more pro-life to do something tangible to help rather than leaving it at rhetoric and advertising.  Spending $1 million on a Super Bowl ad doesn’t make you pro-life.  Because words don’t make you pro-life.  Spending $1million to support young women who are pregnant and to support families wanting to adopt is pro-life.  Maybe we need less ads–certainly less cheesy ads–and more action.  Maybe we need less rhetoric and more action.  Myself included.

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