With the Super Bowl just days away, CBS suddenly has a very awkward situation on its hands -- and it's exactly what the network deserves.For the past week or so, CBS has been under fire for accepting an ad from the Christian-conservative group Focus on the Family opposing abortion. The commercial, featuring college football star Tim Tebow, is the type of thing the network has rejected in the past for being too controversial.
Now a gay dating site is taking advantage of the dust-up, asking: If them, why not us?
Mancrunch.com has asked CBS to review a 30-second spot for acceptability. The spot follows a pair of male football fans who accidentally brush hands while watching a game, only to launch into a full-on makeout session.
It's pretty clear Mancrunch has no actual desire to spend the $2.5 million or more it would cost to buy a spot. No airtime is currently available, anyway, although Mancrunch says it's hoping someone will back out.
It's doubtful buying airtime during the Super Bowl is a particuarly efficient way to reach gay males. Whipping up a controversy that highlights corporate bias against homosexuality, on the other hand -- that works. And it costs next to nothing.
And while CBS surely doesn't want to alienate gay consumers -- indeed, as my colleague Aimee Picchi reports, the network rejected an ad from perennial offender GoDaddy.com that features a flamboyantly swishy gay stereotype -- it has left itself without much of a leg to stand on. Not only did it accept the Tim Tebow ad in the full knowledge that many would see it as taking sides in the most contentious debate in American politics, it also ran a commercial for Snickers during the 2007 Super Bowl that depicted a nearly identical scenario to the Mancrunch spot: two straight dudes fumbling their way into an accidental snogfest. In that case, the candybar maker itself pulled the ads from broadcast after critics labeled them homophobic.
Update, 1/29/10: CBS has rejected the spot -- reportedly because the network thought it was a publicity stunt and not a serious submission to begin with.
(Related: Go Daddy's 'Lola' Ad Too Hot (or Too Flaming) for Super Bowl)
Will a Gay Dating Site's Super Bowl Ad Shame CBS?