The extensive discussion about the spot demonstrates a reason advertisers spend so much on Super Bowl commercials: the talk value. Consumers chat about Super Bowl ads before, during and after they run — not only in the living room or around the water cooler but also on blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
Two companies, Alterian and Zeta Interactive, reported on Monday that their monitoring of online conversations about Super Bowl ads had found that the Focus on the Family spot had already been discussed more than any other planned to run in the game.
I'll go back to my big point from last week's post -- it's all about influence:
I go back to something we heard over and over when Tebow made his decision to come back to Florida for his senior year. It wasn't about winning a championship (although that was part of it). It wasn't about getting better-prepared for the NFL (although that was part of it).No: The anecdote you heard over and over was about how blown away Tebow and his family were by the Google dominance of "John 3:16" when Tebow wore it on his eyeblack in the 2008 national title game. The revelation -- so to speak -- was that Tebow, coming back as the biggest rock star in college football history, had a massive platform to influence people... far more massive than he would have as an early-entry NFL rookie QB.The Focus on the Family spot is not an ad during "How I Met Your Mother." This is an ad during the Super Bowl -- the most-watched TV show of the year, and regularly among the most-watched TV shows of all time.This is -- by many, many multiples -- the biggest single platform Tebow has ever had to share his values and influence people.Given what we know about how important that influence is to Tebow and his family -- and Focus on the Family's recognition that between CBS's desperation for Super Bowl ad money and the softly sold story of the Tebows that would pass corporate muster, they could get their own brand on the biggest stage possible -- Tebow's participation in this ad should come as no surprise.
*Put the last two bullets together: The ad will not be particularly strident. Yes, Focus on the Family has some strident positions, but they know better than to try to air them here.
Maybe you find that appropriate. Maybe you find that insidious. Maybe you care deeply -- one way or the other -- that this issue is getting a Super Bowl stage. Maybe you don't care -- perhaps even wishing that we could keep politics or moral issues out of a sports event.
The fact remains that this has become the most prominent story line of the Super Bowl that doesn't have to do with the game -- and, perhaps, even including the game.
UPDATE: You really must read this interesting, provocative and nuanced column from the Washington Post's Sally Jenkins.