Gary Schneeberger, Vice President of Media Relations at Focus on the Family, has said his organization’s Super Bowl ad featuring Tim Tebow and his mother was “very directly pro-life” and has proven “extremely popular.”
The Super Bowl ad showed University of Florida star quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, who spoke about her love for her son and how he “almost didn’t make it into the world.”
While Pam Tebow had refused doctors’ advice to abort her unborn son during a life-threatening condition, abortion was not mentioned in the advertisement, which directed viewers to the Focus on the Family website.
Schneeberger spoke about the Tebows’ ad in a Tuesday phone interview with CNA.
Asked to describe the impact of the Super Bowl advertising spots, he responded that the ad has become “extremely popular” and people generally recognize that the advertising was about “celebrating family and celebrating life.”
“It wasn’t political, it wasn’t anti-anything. It wasn’t controversial.
“We told people the truth. It was about a mother and son who love each other.”
He told CNA that viewers have watched the ad 305,000 times on the Focus on the Family website. The full interview, an eight-minute clip in which the Tebows tell the longer story of Tim’s birth, received over 760,000 viewers on Sunday and Monday alone.
The Focus on the Family website has also witnessed a twenty-fold increase in activity.
Schneeberger told CNA his organization expects the numbers to climb because of continued publicity.
The ads were a “great investment” for Focus on the Family because it provided a national opportunity to talk about “the sanctity of life, the importance of celebrating life, and celebrating family.”
“We’ve developed now all these potential new relationships with people who hopefully will reach out to Focus on the Family when they encounter life challenges.”
He said the organization provides “help and hope” to those suffering marriage problems, parenting issues, or unplanned pregnancies.
CNA noted that some observers have called the ad “anti-climactic” and asked whether the run-up to the ad’s broadcast was misleading.
“We never said anything other than that it was an inspiring story about celebrating family and celebrating life,” Schneeberger commented. “The controversy came up because some groups who had not seen the ad decided to protest it.”
“If it was anti-climactic, it’s not because we built up expectations,” he continued, crediting Focus on the Family’s ideological opponents for the claim the ad would contain political advocacy.
Asked whether the ad’s pro-life message was unclear, Schneeberger explained the campaign had two parts: the Super Bowl commercial and the longer video on the Focus on the Family website.
In the commercial Pam Tebow described her son as a “miracle baby” and in the video his birth was described as being “a God story.”
“Taken together I don’t know how anybody could see the ad and the video as anything but very unapologetically, very directly pro-life.”