Gay dating business fuels Super Bowl Ad Wars: NPR
Every year, millions of people tune in to the Super Bowl to cheer on their favorite team.
But some people just watch the commercials, and for them the 2010 game should be pretty interesting.
This year, CBS is airing an anti-abortion commercial featuring college football star Tim Tebow with his mother. The ad is sponsored by conservative group Focus on the Family. Weeks after the ad was approved, CBS turned down a Super Bowl ad produced by a new gay dating site called ManCrunch.com.
The Tebow and ManCrunch ads raise questions not only about what networks want in Super Bowl ads, but also what potential advertisers really want from the Super Bowl.
It’s just a kiss, right?
The 30-second ManCrunch ad shows two guys on a couch watching a football game. They support their respective teams. Then they both hit potato chips at the same time. Their hands are touching. The music rises.
Then they kiss – rather comically.
Dominic Friesen, a spokesperson for ManCrunch.com, sees no problem with the ad, which he says cost ManCrunch $ 100,000 to produce.
“Honestly, we didn’t think there would be a problem with the announcement,” Friesen said. “It’s pretty harmless. It’s not controversial. It’s not sensational.”
He says CBS made his company wait nearly two weeks for a decision on whether to run the ad, when other companies filtering ads for the game received approvals or denials much faster. He also says that CBS told ManCrunch that there are no more commercials left for the game. In fact, CBS was still selling the last of its Super Bowl commercials this week.
Friesen says the ordeal hurt ManCrunch.
“I think the biggest disappointment is anti-gay discrimination and prejudice.”
But CBS stands by its decision. A statement from the network says ManCrunch failed to meet credit requirements to pay for the ad, which reportedly cost up to $ 3 million. As a new company, the company has a limited credit history.
But ManCrunch says he offered to pay for the ad in cash. However, at NPR’s request to provide documentation that an actual cash advance was offered, nothing was provided.
CBS’s statement also said the creative content in the ad did not meet its broadcast standards. And they classify the ad as commercial, not as plea, like Tim Tebow’s anti-abortion ad.
What do the fans want?
Susan Stasney, of Alexandria, Va., Says she will watch the Super Bowl – but more for the commercials than the game itself. She knows a bit about the ManCrunch controversy and isn’t thrilled by the announcement:
“I wouldn’t want to see this as a Super Bowl commercial,” Stasney says. “And it really pushes the boundaries of what society would be like today.”
Still, she thinks there’s a double standard at play: “Of course everyone likes the idea of two girls kissing, but they don’t like the idea of two guys kissing.”
When it comes to the Super Bowl commercials, she might be right. A few years ago, candy maker Mars ran a Super Bowl commercial in which two men accidentally kissed each other while trying to eat the same Snickers bar. The kiss disgusted them both so much that they began to do “manly” things to compensate for the lip lock, like tearing their shirts off and tearing the hair violently from their chests. This advertisement was denounced as homophobic.
The bright side of denial
This year, ManCrunch is calling on gay rights groups to boycott CBS and the Super Bowl. But the dating site isn’t the first business to be denied an ad. In fact, Brad Adgate, an advertising expert at Horizon Media, says some companies submit ads that they know will be rejected for the Super Bowl, just for the sake of rejection.
“Every once in a while you see companies wanting to get more profit for their Super Bowl investment by running ads that they know won’t be accepted by network standards and practices,” Adgate said. . But often, it is difficult to know definitively what the real motivations of an advertiser are.
Adgate says The Big Game is one of the latest TV shows to reach men and women of all ages. He expects over 100 million people to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday. And even a refusal, with such a large audience, can be good for business.
So ManCrunch might not have it that bad after all. In fact, since the ad was rejected, web information company Alexa claims web traffic to ManCrunch.com has almost doubled.