The Superbowl. Watched by millions. For the ads. American Football is a commercial juggernaut. They pause play for ads (they do this in Aussie Rules too). The Superbowl regularly features big budget advertising blockbusters. They don’t necessarily steal the show. But they go close.
This year a group of Christians decided they wanted a slice of the Superbowl action. So they produced an ad, and booked a slot, and the broadcaster decided to turn the ad down. They didn’t want anybody being offended by a religious ad. And this is in a nation that prides itself on its Christian heritage.
Here’s the ad.
There’s not a lot in there that’s offensive. It’s pretty clever. The website is nice. The ad, at the time of writing, has been viewed by 300,000 people (approximately) on YouTube – a far cry from the millions who would have tuned in on the day, but at least the producers are getting some benefit for their efforts.
This, friends, is why we shouldn’t be kicking up a stink and trying to get atheist bus ads pulled. What goes around comes around. If we’ve got truth on our side – what have we to fear from other voices being heard in the marketplace of ideas so long as we can put our side of the story out as well. Now we may not be able to do either – because if they can’t show an ad like that in America, what are the chances of similar decisions being made by TV networks in the rest of the world?
Here’s a New York Times article on the fiasco which again goes to show that the ad wasn’t wasted – when was the last time a major newspaper ran a verse from the Bible as the second par of a news story?
The ad’s producer Larry Taunton had this to say about his motives:
“Corporate America uses its creativity and millions of dollars to come up with 30-second blasts to get you to buy a beer or Coke or tennis balls… Last year, as I began to reflect on this, I thought, ‘If I had 30 seconds to speak to a billion people, what would I say?’”
What would you say?