Tim Tebow was still just a University of Florida star and National Football League hopeful in 2010 when he agreed to appear with his mother in a Super Bowl ad from the pro-life group Focus on the Family. In an era when athletes rarely got involved in debates over subjects as charged as abortion, some observers questioned whether he was hurting his own future endorsement potential, if he turned out to be as bright an NFL star as anticipated. Tebow decided that didn’t matter as much as the message he wanted to deliver.
Most of the lines in the spot, created internally at Focus on the Family in conjunction with production company Vidano Films, actually go to his mother Pam. She had contracted dysentery while living in the Philippines in 1985 and was advised by her physician to have an abortion, because the prescription medication she would take would likely cause damage to the fetus. She declined that advice.
Tebow grew up to be one of the best and most-popular college football players of his generation, a personable and telegenic quarterback who led his team to two national championships and also won the Heisman Trophy. “I call him my miracle baby,” his mom says in the ad. (Later she appears to be tackled by her son, a la Betty White in the same game’s Snickers commercial.)
The Focus on the Family spot winds up keeping the, um, focus pretty soft, never mentioning abortion and concluding with a suggestion to learn more at FocusOnTheFamily.com. Tebow’s NFL career wouldn’t live up to his college glory, but he would return to Super Bowl advertising in 2014 for a pair of self-deprecating T-Mobile ads (“No Contract, No Worries” and “Still No Contract”).
BRAND: Focus on the Family
QUARTER AIRED: Q1