It's the time of year for ridiculous Super Bowl stunts, in which companies claim they've been censored by the hosting broadcast network and then laugh as gullible media outlets run with the story, but never checking to see if the ads were censored -- or even if the company had the money to run it in the first place.
So we've been a little hesitant in running with the story of Mancrunch, the gay dating site supposedly looking to get into the game. But a spokesman for Mancrunch said the marketer isn't trying to show CBS up or make a political statement. It's simply done the math and thinks the Super Bowl is the best place for the brand.
Mancrunch's attempt to land a Super Bowl spot has kicked up a ruckus online, where commenters upset about CBS's decision to air an anti-abortion ad starring football star Tim Tebow are howling about the network's alleged double standards because it won't air a spot showing two men kissing.
But the focus on Focus on the Family is misplaced, said the company.
"We just launched this month, and 90 million men watch the Super Bowl," said a spokesman for the site, which describes itself as a place where "many, many, many men come out to play."
"That's why you want the Super Bowl."
While a person familiar with the situation said the network believes Mancrunch's financial ability to pay for the advertising is suspect, the Mancrunch spokesman said that in submitting the ad, Mancrunch underwent a credit check to show that it was good for the reported $3 million asking price for a 30-second spot.
But even though CBS is trying to replace departed ad regulars such as General Motors, Pepsi and FedEx, the spokesman said Mancrunch has been told, as recently as Thursday, that there's no time available. The spokesman called that "discrimination."
The ad shows two football fans watching a game, rooting for their teams. When their hands meet inside a bowl of chips, they begin making out.
"We're really surprised there's a problem," he said. "It's not offensive and it's not racy."
We do wonder, however, if someone's trying to say something about a certain aged quarterback who, once again, didn't quite make it. (Note the jerseys).
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Contributing: Brian Steinberg
UPDATE: CBS has rejected the ad. In a statement, the company said: "After reviewing the ad -- which is entirely commercial in nature -- our Standards and Practices department decided not to accept this particular spot. As always, we are open to working with the client on alternative submissions."