NBC has rejected CatholicVote.com’s attempt to buy advertising time during the Super Bowl to show its pro-life ad. Though the network says it does not show ads involving “political advocacy or issues,” the ad’s creators have questioned whether a double standard is at work.
The ad displays an ultrasound of a baby, displaying the words “This child’s future is a broken home.” The ad says the unborn boy will be abandoned by his father and his single mother will struggle to raise him.
Despite the hardships, the ad continues, this child will become the first African-American president.
The ad then cuts to a picture of President Barack Obama.
“Life: Imagine the Potential,” the ad concludes.
On Thursday an NBC representative in Chicago told CatholicVote.com that NBC and the National Football League are not interested in advertisements involving “political advocacy or issues.”
“There is nothing objectionable in this positive, life-affirming advertisement,” Brian Burch, President of CatholicVote.com, said in a press release. “We show a beautiful ultrasound, something NBC's parent company GE has done for years. We congratulate Barack Obama on becoming the first African-American President. And we simply ask people to imagine the potential of every human life.”
As evidence of inconsistent application of Super Bowl advertising standards, Burch pointed to a controversy over an advertisement from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The ad displayed young women in sexually suggestive poses to promote vegetarianism.
An e-mail reportedly from Victoria Morgan, Vice President of Advertising Standards for Universal, was reproduced on the PETA web site explaining the ad’s rejection: “The PETA spot submitted to Advertising Standards depicts a level of sexuality exceeding our standards.”
The e-mail to PETA detailed “edits that need to be made” in order for the ad to run.
"NBC claims it doesn't allow advocacy ads, but that's not true. They were willing to air an ad by PETA if they would simply tone down the sexual suggestiveness. Our ad is far less provocative, and hardly controversial by comparison," said Burch.
On Friday, the PETA ad was definitively banned by NBC.
Burch said CatholicVote.com was seeking other venues for the advertisement, which ran in Chicago on BET on Inauguration Day.
The ad will run on Sunday on EWTN during its “Faith Bowl II” programming, which begins at 5:30 Eastern Time. The programming analyzes the role that Catholicism and Christianity play in professional and collegiate sports.
As of Friday afternoon, the YouTube video of the CatholicVote.org ad has had more than 910,000 views since being posted to the site on January 18.