NEW YORK — Even the long-awaited Super Bowl ad from conservative group Focus on the Family came with a punchline Sunday night.
The 30-second “Celebrate family, celebrate life” ad starring Heisman winner Tim Tebow includes a surprise — Tim Tebow tackling his mother after she says she nearly lost him during her pregnancy. The pair jokes that they have to be “tough” with all the family has been through.
The commercial, which shows just Tebow and his mother, Pam, does not contain an overt antiabortion message. Instead it sends people to Focus on the Family’s Web site, which offers a more straightforward message.
The ad sparked debate before it was even broadcast, and some groups called for CBS not to air it. The ad is the first such advocacy ad to appear in television’s most-watched broadcast.
The ad was “very gentle”, which was surprising considering how much talk it generated before it even aired, said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
He said the use of humor helped make the ad more accessible — and not off-putting to most people — although the ad’s message was hidden, which makes it less effective and confusing to people who weren’t familiar with it.