Don’t get mad at me. This is not a blog about pro-choice or pro-life movements. It is a blog about the power of public relations and the fact that I believe Focus on the Family did one of the best PR campaigns I’ve ever seen with their Super Bowl ad.
What did they do that was so incredible? They stopped barking, for one thing. And, they started thinking about selling benefits. They then enlisted the perfect spokespeople for their cause — the Heisman-winning quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother — and had them tell a very compelling story. Focus on the Family also developed an ad ”safe enough” for CBS to approve for air during the Super Bowl (and the fact CBS really needed the nearly $3 million for the commercial). Once CBS released that Focus on the Family purchased the commercial, the PR buzz (in traditional press and on the Internet) was incredible. By including Tim Tebow, the public relations train even made stops on sports talk radio.
Most advocacy ads use shock value and righteous indignation to sell messages. Anger might help win for Super Bowl teams, but not on the field of public support. Only true benefits rule the day in marketing.
Sure, the ad was safe, but with the heavy pre-air PR, the ad achieved a national awareness it could never have generated on its own.
So what can we learn? Sometimes lowering your voice can make your point loud and clear. And, telling the right story can build PR value beyond your commercial’s placement–even if you place the ad in the Super Bowl. Let’s hope all advocacy advertisers learn from this example. Save the barking for the dogs.
Equal time rebuttal: Even this Jimmy Kimmel rebuttal feeds the Tim Tebow PR value–but it is really funny.