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Focus on the Family's Super Bowl Ad Violence

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The Focus on the Family's Super Bowl commercial featuring Tim Tebow tackling his mother is typical of the anti-abortion movement's twisted thinking: Using violence to support their position against using violence to kill nascent life.

It's the same type of twisted thinking that causes right-to-life fanatics to murder doctors who perform abortions to stop them from what these self-appointed moral policemen consider to be the murder of a fetus.

The Tebow commercial was also a symbolic flag bearer for how low and twisted the thinking of television commercial producers, advertising agencies, and CBS have become. The only exception was the brilliantly conceived and executed Google commercial.

If you were not a thirty-something (or younger) chip-eating, beer-swilling, insensitive, immature, macho male, you probably noticed the distinctive misogynistic tone of many of the commercials.

Those commercials that weren't stereotyping and insulting and doing violence to women, gays, dwarves, and the elderly, were over-the top, over-produced, dull, un-funny, illogical messes, most of which were embarrassed to show the name of their product until near the end of the commercial.

The only exception was the Google commercial that showed the product name from the beginning and intelligently demonstrated how to use the product to do something useful, romantic, and uplifting (which included moving to France, which, I suppose, implied getting away from American over-commercialization).

CBS made some counterproductive decisions to group commercials according to some supposedly (and weirdly) related theme. For example, there was an abuse-the-elderly pod in which Betty White and Tim Tebow's mother were violently tackled. Or a no-pants pod with CareerBuilder.com and Dockers commercials in it. Or a magical-places pod with the coupling of Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" film with KISS for Dr. Pepper featuring dwarves rocking out.

The half-time show was the best in years, not because of the aging members of The Who, who played OK (windmill moves and all), but because of the awesome computerized laser light show and mind-blowing, light-revolving stage - an exploding celebration for the eyes, not necessarily for the ears.

In the second half there was an Audi commercial that touted its green, energy-saving car, which was fine to promote, but doing so in a commercial with a cast of perhaps a hundred that must have cost over $1 million to produce wasted more energy to create than a 100 Audi's could save in a month. This is another example of ad agencies reaching into the upper levels of cognitive dissonance to make a point.

If you want to promote green, do like Google did - show a demonstration of the benefits of using the product. It's ironic and symbolic of Google that its commercial was the probably the least expensive to produce, most efficient in the use of resources, and was by far the most effective. It's a lesson of rational and effective advertising - a lesson that probably went over the heads of Focus on the Family and most advertising agencies.

And, oh, by the way, it was a really good football game, which, of course, has become incidental to the over-the-top, materialistic, consumption-gorging culture of commercialism which I am hypocritically honoring by writing about Super Bowl commercials and not about the game.