Examiner Editorial: Super Bowl ads contain ‘teachable moments’ 

Television spots produced for the Super Bowl have become one of the most widely anticipated aspects of the big game.

More than a few of this year’s collection of Super Bowl spots stood out, some for being painfully bad (most of the Bud Light offerings, Danica Patrick’s truly awful GoDaddy Girl fantasies), others for providing genuine chuckles (“Man’s Last Stand” from Dodge, E-Trade’s “Girlfriend”), and still others for sparking golden-oldie memories for baby boomers in the audience (the Griswolds’ “Hotel Hell Vacation”).

Then, there were the two spots that stood out in ways that at least one of the commercial sponsors likely did not intend.

The first of these was the heartwarming spot of Pam Tebow and her Heisman Trophy-winning son, Tim. Although it contained no overt anti-abortion pitch, the Tebow spot encouraged viewers to get the full story at Focus on the Family’s Web site, the Internet home of one of the nation’s most vigorous anti-abortion voices.

Abortion rights advocates went into a pregame tizzy trying to get CBS not to air the Tebow spot, but the network wisely aired it anyway. After the game, National Organization for Women President Terri O’Neill claimed the Tebow spot promoted “violence against women” with its obviously whimsical tackle of mother by son.

If that is the best NOW can do, O’Neill should consider President Abraham Lincoln’s sage advice concerning not speaking up and removing all doubt about being a fool.

The second spot was from Audi. The German automaker likely intended “The Green Police” only as a clever pitch for its clean, diesel-powered cars in an environmentally conscious market. But whatever the purpose, the result was a superbly crafted critique of environmental extremism.

The spot features a sequence of entirely believable situations in which regular people are arrested by outrageously intrusive green police for doing things like putting a battery in the trash, not using politically correct light bulbs and having their jacuzzi’s water setting a few degrees too warm.

The green police even arrest regular cops caught using foam cups and nab a grocery store customer for requesting plastic bags (“you picked the wrong day to mess with the ecosystem, plastic boy”).

While we’re on the topic of pointed TV spots, the Defeat the Debt Pledge commercial airing on select stations around the country was not produced specifically for the Super Bowl telecast. But it packed a big political charge with its video of a classroom of elementary school students reciting the pledge “to America’s debt, and to the Chinese government that lends us money. And to the interest, for which we pay, compoundable, with higher taxes and lower pay until the day we die.”
Need we say more?

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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