The 2011 Super Bowl is quickly approaching which means the best TV commercials of the year will air between the tackles and touchdowns. As the most-watched television event of the year, (2010’s game drew 106 million viewers,) the advertising rates rival Ben Roethlisberger’s salary.
This year, a 30-second spot will cost advertisers roughly $3 million dollars. But don’t think that just anyone offering to pay the hefty price is granted air-time. Fox, which is broadcasting the Feb. 6 contest between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers, has already turned down six ads due to controversial subject matter ranging from sex to the Bible.
The first reject was a spot advertising AshleyMadison.com, a small but controversial dating site that helps arrange extramarital affairs. With a cast of porn stars condoning infidelity, the ad didn’t fare well with Fox execs.
1. “AshleyMadison.com” rejected Super Bowl ad:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M6lNHlV_dU
Fox also turned away another web-based company, JesusHatesObama.com, a right-winged, comedy site that sells a variety of novelty merchandise. The ad features an angry Jesus doll pushing a smiling Obama doll into a fishbowl.
2. “JesushatesObama.com” banned ad:
Next up: Doritos. The junk food conglomerate made not one but two controversial gay-themed ads this year, and bid for both of them to fill ad spots during the Super Bowl. In one of the ads, a man is seen gazing admiringly at his neighbors who are devouring Doritos by a pool.
In the second ad, two buff men are sitting intimately in a sauna and Doritos are placed in rather precarious positions throughout the clip. Both of the overtly homoerotic ads were banned from this year’s Super Bowl broadcast.
4. Banned Doritos Ad: “Told You So”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcfViklWRsU
Bonus Banned Doritos Ad: “The Sauna”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1yk85znbpY
PETA is notorious for over-the-top commercials that generally involve a fair amount of nudity and sexual innuendos. Their latest effort is perhaps their most risqué ad to date.
While last year’s hypersexualized “Veggie Love” was banned from the Super Bowl broadcast, this year’s ad is a series of outtakes from the audition for the 2010 ad. The audition reel is not only awkward, it’s borderline pornographic. It features more naked women getting down and dirty with some precariously shaped vegetables, like zucchini. The “models” prance around nervously in bikinis and high heels while a man off-camera orders them to “pick a vegetable and show us how much you love it.”
While it’s unclear if PETA actually pitched this ad to Fox, it’s nevertheless inspired serious outrage from women’s groups around the country. When asked about the objectification in the ad, a representative from the Women’s Media Center said in a statement: “It’s never a good idea to throw one group under the bus for the rights of another. There are ways to be provocative and talk about animal rights without replicating images that harm women.”
PETA has made a habit out of sexually exploiting women in their outrageous ads, and have displeased nearly every major network in the process. If they ever hope to see airtime during the Super Bowl, they need to keep their clothes on.
5. Banned PETA ad: “Veggie Love”
The final banned ad was not rejected because of mature content or political bias; it was rejected because it contained a Bible verse. The ad is seemingly harmless — a group of adults are drinking beer and watching football on television when they spot the words “John 3:16” written on one of the players faces, and decide to look up it’s meaning on their cell phone. The commercial ends there, without actually sharing the verse. Harmless, right? Fox doesn’t think so.
6. Rejected Bible verse ad:
In an effort to minimize backlash, Fox played it safe and eliminated ads that could offend viewers on a political, moral, sexual, or religious level. Tune in this Sunday, February 6 at 6:30 pm to find out which controversy-free commercials made the cut, and decide for yourself whether those 30 seconds justified the $3 million dollar price tag.