Saturday, February 6, 2010

Of Kickoffs and Cleavage: Super Bowl Commercials and Kids

When the lights go down on the Super Bowl halftime show tomorrow night, parents can rest easy knowing that all young and edgy artists have been exiled from the program. After the "wardrobe malfunction" of 2004, the NFL and CBS agreed to sign only safe, middle-aged rockers like Bruce Springsteen and The Who. Innocent young eyes will be fine for that part of the party, but then there are all of those expensive, look-at-us-in-all-our-naughtiness types of commercials that are sure to pop up throughout the evening.

The ads have long been a part of the Super Bowl tradition and most of them are both funny and (relatively) family-friendly. But there are always those landmines, whether it’s some sort of ménage a trios involving fruits and vegetables or a celebration of the fact that guys Roger Daltry’s age have nothing to fear other than the occasional four-hour erection. The only option, it sometimes seems, is to turn the TV off during commercial breaks, but this is social suicide if you’re at a party. (That’s why these companies don’t mind spending just under $3 million for a 30-second spot!) You can tell your kids to cover their eyes when Danica Patrick slips out of the shower or Tim Tebow starts preaching, but they’ll look through their fingers anyway. So, the question is, when something questionable comes on the screen, is it even worth barking orders at them? That kind of overreaction usually draws more attention, so probably not.

I suppose the answer is that old parental fallback: exposure warrants explanation. The latter can be controlled a lot easier than the former, after all, so why not put the focus on explaining it in kid-friendly terms? The happy medium is to proceed with caution without driving ourselves (or our children) nuts. And when the usual level of vigilance just isn’t reasonable, simply answer those questions they’ve asked or are visibly contemplating. Sure you could yell “Cover those eyes!” at every sign of cleavage, but to do so is to risk having you and your mortified family kicked out of the party before Pete Townshend launches into his first Viagrified windmill of a power chord. Not worth it, in my book.

So, enjoy the game, relish the return of “The Super Bowl Shuffle,” eat, drink, and be merry, and read more about the ads (see websites below) if you just can’t take the six hours of pregame analysis that will be on every channel tomorrow. And oh yeah… gooooo Saints!,32068,65155467001_1960677,00.html/r:t


  1. Go Saints!! The game is a SHOW now. I know people that can't stand football, but watch it for other reasons (half time show, ads). I can't imagine not being focused on the game itself. And as a player, I would hate all the hoopla. Good article.

  2. I don't know people who can't stand football because I refuse to know people who can't stand football! i'm off to play in 14-degree weather now. Who dat?!

  3. Lol, Randy! I can't stand football. HOWEVER (screw you high school grammar teacher who told me to never begin a sentence with however), coming from a football city (Kansas City), I don't disagree with football and the revenue/fun/etc. it brings...I just don't enjoy it. But (haha) I get people that do. Anyway, about your entry, I totally agree. On another note...did you know that CBS refused two different LGBT dating ads (not racy, just the traditional lovey dovey kind) and then allowed a Focus on the Family Ad about abortion? Not sure where your politics stand, but that aside, it just seems like bad business.

  4. I am against CBS's decision, but also understand that it's their network and they have the right to make those decisions. I think the better halftime show would have been to pit the LGBT football team against the Focus on the Family football team in a all-out, full-on tackle football game: the winner would get a 30-second ad spot in the 2nd half!

  5. I'm only wtching so I can sing the Superbowl shuffle again . . . It's the closest I'll ever get to the superbowl.

  6. UPDATE!!!

    When I wrote this blog, little did I know it would be chubby guys in tidy whities I'd be worried about! The cleavage shots of men far outweighed the suggestive shots of women and the back-to-back underwear ads (Hanes and something else) were enough to make me lose my appetite. Or maybe it was just the fact that I'd had more than enough steak, chili, chips n dip, so on and so forth!

    Congrats to the Saints and the city of New Orleans. And what a great shot of Drew Brees and his baby boy after the game. Better than a trip to Disney, it was downright priceless...