The decision by the CBS network to run American football star Tim Tebow’s anti-abortion TV spot has already generated enough controversy.
As correctly pointed out by Gawker Media’s Jezebel blog, this is about money, or more accurately, a lack of money from traditional spenders like FedEx and Pepsi for the first time during the USA’s biggest sporting event of the year.
If, like Pepsi, other big-name brands decide to shift their Super Bowl advertising budgets to Social Media initiatives, what will happen to the more desperate TV networks looking to sell advertising? It seems that they will take on more fringe advertisers. PETA, for example, was denied an opportunity to run a spot last year. Perhaps petitions urging networks to run controversial spots, as have happened in the past, will no longer be necessary. It seems that the networks will likely be a lot less stringent and just simply attempt to fill out the advertiser lineup.
This situation represents a philosophical switch: causes that were once relegated to the digital space may move into mainstream broadcast while big brands will attempt to invest larger budgets into social media. Either way, the Super Bowl will remain a way to generate buzz.