Blog Post

Tebow Ad Surprises Many

by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist The much anticipated Tim Tebow ad, which turned out to be much more light-hearted and benign that expected, disarmed critics and resulted in scoring a big win for the pro-life message in the public relations battle over abortion. The ad, funded by the pro-family group, Focus on the Family, aired shortly after the Super Bowl began and featured Pam Tebow talking about her “miracle” baby Timmy and how he “almost didn’t make it into this world.” Her son, Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, suddenly tackles her out of the picture. She pops up again and says, “Timmy! I’m trying to tell our story here!” then adds “You’re not nearly as tough as I am.” The ad, which never mentions abortion, doesn’t even hint at the story of the difficult decision Mrs. Tebow made when discovering she was pregnant after taking medication for a serious illness that was believed to have left her child irreparably harmed. She opted to take the chance and give the child life, a child who turned out to be a history-making athlete. Tom Krattenmaker, author of Onward, Christian Athletes, told USA Today that he found the mom-and-son pre-game pitch warm, endearing and charming. “Seriously, if you didn't know the context -- and context is everything in the case -- you would wonder what all the fuss was about. I was surprised by how lightly it touched on the difficult-pregnancy story (although there is the "miracle baby" reference).” The only time politics comes into play is when people click on the Focus on the Family website that is advertised at the very end of the ad. After showing fans a pre-game ad and the full story of what happened to Mrs. Tebow, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly invites viewers to explore the site’s vast pro-family resources. “Over 50 million children have lost their lives due to abortion,” Mr. Daly says. “We simply want to ask people the question: Can we do better? I think we can.” As Krattenmaker points out, Daly’s pitch seemed more like a call for “a constructive conversation about abortion reduction. You'll notice that he didn't call for making abortion illegal, and he didn't demonize pro-choice people.” However, critics say the group was trying to advertise it’s ministry for financial reasons. The Rev. J. Bennett, Guess, spokesman for the United Church of Christ, saw the ad as just an expensive means of driving “web traffic and donations for their financially strapped organization." He accused the ministry of using “attractive, popular and poised spokespersons to enlist surface support from unsuspecting people for a zealous political organization that serves and supports only the narrowest view of the word 'family.' Through its diligent work to criminalize reproductive choice and birth control, deny civil rights protections for gays and lesbians, scapegoat immigrants, and reduce support for our nation's public schools, Focus on the Family's ad doesn't begin to tell their full story.” However, pro-life activist groups such as Americans United for Life were delighted with the ad and glad CBS did not cave into pressure to dump it. “This ad was funny, light-hearted, and had a positive message for everyone,” AUL president Charmaine Yoest told USA Today. “The hate-filled reaction from pro-abortion groups reveals a radical abortion-at-any-cost agenda that is far out of step with the American people. Congratulations to Focus on the Family for inspiring us all in the face of extremism." © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®