Friday, 04 February 2011
It's been announced that an ad from the Fixed Point Foundation, a Christian organization, was rejected by Fox for airing in this Sunday's Packers/Steelers showdown in Superbowl XLV. I'd never heard of the organization so I checked them out a little. According to their website, Fixed Point cites their organization's primary mission as "promot[ing] a confident Christianity in the public square by fortifying the minds of Christians and challenging the faith of skeptics." The site's tag-line is: bridging the sacred and the secular.
The ad promotes a website called lookup316.com, operated by Fixed Point, which displays the famed Bible verse on its front page and provides a detailed explanation of salvation with several clicks of the mouse. But have a look at the pulled ad itself and you be the judge:
The ad looks harmless enough, as I honestly can't imagine much of America being starkly "offended" by a guy looking up John 3:16 on his phone. Still, Fox cites the religious undertones as reason enough for the pull. As I saw the "John 3:16" painted on the eye-black of the ad's football player, I was instantly reminded of one of my favorite athletes, Tim Tebow, well-known for his own Scriptural eye-blacks on the field. And then I was reminded of another controversial Superbowl commercial. This one from last year's game; one that actually aired before millions, much to the dismay of many pro-choice groups at the time:
With Tebow's thunderous hit to his mother's midsection, the ad is a little corny, yes, but undeniably endearing. Certainly not harmful, certainly not casting a heinous pro-life spell or injecting Jesus into me. An ad similar in tone to the ad that was pulled for this year's contest. So what's the difference then? Why was Fixed Point's ad pulled but Focus on the Family's wasn't? I suppose the main difference is that no blatant reference to Christianity is present in the 2010 Tim Tebow ad. Just the organization's name at the end. It's interesting to me though: two commercials from two Christian organizations, different airing results.
I don't pretend to understand how ads are accepted/denied when it comes to various networks, from a major network like Fox all the way down to a lesser one like MTV. Maybe if this year's game aired on CBS like last year's, the John 3:16 ad would air. I don't know. I feel like even if the verse on the player's eye-black was from the Koran, I wouldn't be offended by a dude looking it up on his phone. But maybe that's just me.
Do you think the pulled 2011 ad is appropriate for a Superbowl audience? Is it appropriate for any audience? Where's "the line" when it comes to ads involving hot-button subjects like abortion and religion?