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CULTURE DIGEST: Tebow Super Bowl ad prompts woman to choose life

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The National Religious Broadcasters has announced it will present its award for Best Television Commercial to Focus on the Family for last year’s Super Bowl ad featuring Tim Tebow and his mother Pam.

The ad, it turns out, helped save at least one life.

“It created a national dialogue about the true definition of choice as it pertains to the issue of abortion,” the group said. The award will be presented in late February.

The Barna Group estimated that more than 5 million people reconsidered their position on the issue of abortion after viewing the ad, and at least one woman contacted Focus on the Family to tell them she decided not to abort her child because of the commercial.

In the ad, Pam Tebow conveyed the story of how she chose, against doctors’ recommendations, to continue her pregnancy after contracting a serious illness. The baby was born healthy and went on to become a college football star, win a Heisman trophy and play in the NFL.

A young woman named Susan sent an e-mail to Focus on the Family, telling how the commercial had changed her life.

“I need to thank you so much. It’s not like me to reach out to strangers or agencies for help. I was truly feeling lost. I saw the ad during the Super Bowl and it stuck in my head,” Susan wrote. “I feel like that commercial was made to reach out to me.”

Susan watched the ad repeatedly online that week and then went to the Focus on the Family website to watch the related interview.

“I think I was partly afraid that God was mad at me for getting pregnant out of wedlock,” she wrote. “While I know He isn’t proud of me for it, thank you for reminding me that He still loves me. I didn’t need to compound one sin with another. My mistake can’t be erased, but I can ask for forgiveness.”

The baby’s father wanted Susan to abort it, and she knew the relational and financial struggles would be significant if she chose life. But the ad and follow-up support from a Focus on the Family employee helped her continue the pregnancy.

“I cannot thank you enough for putting me back on the right track and reminding me what actually matters in life,” Susan wrote. “I don’t know how I forgot something so important, but I did.”

After the baby’s birth last fall, Susan visited the Focus on the Family headquarters with the child to show them the difference the commercial made.

WALMART TARGETS PRETEENS WITH MAKEUP -– Walmart hopes girls will become beauty consumers at a younger age as it launches a makeup line called GeoGirl, intended for ages 8 through 12.

GeoGirl is meant to be “a departure from the toy-centered, playful tween cosmetic lines on the market,” Women’s Wear Daily reported Jan. 14.

“They may have been suitable for generations past, but word is that girls who are part of generation Z — or those born after 1990 — are looking for authenticity and purpose,” the magazine said. “GeoGirl is also billed as ‘mother-approved makeup’ that appears bright and colorful in the package, but sheer on the skin.”

ABC News said the line aims to speak the language of technologically savvy youngsters.

“So if you’re not a texting tween, the products in Walmart’s new line of GeoGirl makeup might need some translating. There’s SWAK, or sealed with a kiss lip treatment,” ABC News reported. “Also featured in the line is T2G, or time to go cleanser.”

Other products include blush, mascara, lipstick and face shimmer.

“We are raising another generation of girls who kind of measure their self-worth based on what’s on the outside,” author Logan Levkoff told ABC News.

Another commentator, identified as Dr. Henry Paul, said the makeup line aimed at preadolescents could be too much too soon.

“The use of makeup in some way can be addictive, and what these children would be addicted to is the pursuit of perfection — the superficial, skin deep, ‘I’m only as good as I look,'” Paul said. “But in the long run it can lead to an erosion of self-esteem in a child because they’ll begin to think of themselves only as beautiful kids.”

The GeoGirl line is set to hit stores Feb. 21, and a Walmart spokeswoman said the products will provide “a great learning experience for us to determine how to communicate with this generation.”

MARRIOTT TO PHASE OUT IN-ROOM PORNOGRAPHY — Marriott International has announced it will not offer adult-content video services in its new hotel rooms and will phase out the services in existing hotels as contracts with providers expire.

The Washington Post noted that the change could be attributed to pressure from pro-family groups, but a hospitality expert said Marriott is simply putting a moral spin on a failing business venture.

Revenues from in-room adult videos are drastically declining for the hotel industry, due mainly to the increase in accessibility of such content from mobile devices such as laptop computers.

“Marriott sees porn as a rapidly declining source of income, so they figure they might as well get ahead of the competition and make this a good PR message,” Glenn Haussman, editor-in-chief of HotelInteractive.com, told msnbc.com.

Pornography purchases still account for 85 percent of the money hotels gain from in-room entertainment, Haussman said, but if such options are phased out, it would be disingenuous for hotel chains to cite moral reasons.

“It is our practice to keep adult content out of the reach of children and unavailable to any adult who chooses not to view it,” Marriott said in a statement to USA Today. “We have strong controls in place that allow guests to block these materials.”

The chain admitted that changing technology and how guests access entertainment has reduced the revenue hotels derive from in-room movies, including adult content.

“We are working with in-room entertainment providers and technology vendors to transition to the next generation of in-room entertainment,” Marriott said. “… As we transition to this new platform, adult content will be off the menu in virtually all of our newly built hotels. Over the next few years, this will be the policy across our system.”

A coalition of Christian organizations including Focus on the Family met with Marriott officials in 2008 to press the chain to stop offering pay-per-view adult movies, The Post said.

And in his presidential bid that year, Republican candidate Mitt Romney was criticized for not urging Marriott to drop adult content. Romney resigned from Marriott’s board of directors two weeks before the adult content phase-out announcement, but his spokesman said he did not participate in those discussions.
Erin Roach is an assistant editor of Baptist Press.

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