Protesting Offensive Commercials Encouraged

CHICAGO, IL (February 13, 2012) – Organizers of the #NotBuyingIt Twitter campaign against what they say are demeaning commercials announced that one million people were reached during the Super Bowl.

Evangelical Covenant Church ministers – who were not connected with the campaign – say they hope congregations will consider their own responses to the advertising that occurs during the Super Bowl and throughout society that objectifies other people.

Missrepresenation.org, founded by the producers of the Sundance Festival entry Miss Representation, especially focused on the GoDaddy website hosting company, although they asked that people write to each of the corporations whose advertising the viewer found offensive.

Eugene Cho, pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, Washington, expressed his dismay in a post on his widely read blog. “Because my wife and I were watching the game with our three young children, we had to switch channels constantly,” he wrote.

Cho exhorted churches whose websites are hosted by GoDaddy to switch companies. “Can you imagine the impact that we could make together by saying and demonstrating: ‘Enough is enough? We must fight and turn the tables for the dignity and value of women – because it affects all of us.”

Meagan Gillian, executive minister of the Department of Women Ministries, adds, “How tragically ironic that parents must monitor the content and become expert channel flippers as they watch the Super Bowl with their children. When I see these ads, I am saddened by reduction of both women and men to objects to be admired for their unattainable physical attractiveness and seductiveness. God would have our relationships be so much more fulfilling.”

Ginny Olson, director of youth ministry for the Northwest Conference, noted, “Consumers forget that we have a voice in this transaction. When we become offended, even outraged, at the way the ‘buy me’ message is delivered, we have every right to not only refuse to buy the product or service, but to organize others to refuse to buy as well.”

Olson is the author of Teenage Girls: Exploring Issues Adolescent Girls Face and Strategies to Help Them, as well as a nationally recognized expert on youth ministry. She says people offended by the commercials should be more proactive in addressing the issues of objectification.

Even if corporations don’t pay attention to moral issues, they will respond if their bottom lines are threatened. “We watch them during the game and then respond with blogs and social media buzz,” she says. “Enough companies now release their Super Bowl ads ahead of time to gauge consumers’ reactions. If we’re concerned about the commercials, we need to organize ahead of time and let the offending companies know that we will not be purchasing their products and will encourage others to do the same.”

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  1. I totally agree with Pastor Cho. As I was watching the game I kept thinking about all the youth groups who would be meeting to have a party. How does a youth leader handle this kind of over-the-top sexuality with the kids? The Super Bowl is supposed to be a family show and it has become an event that is rated PG13. The only way to have a say in what is presented is to make choices with our money by not supporting the companies that create these commercials.
    Wouldn’t it great if a commercial for supporting the rescue of girls in the sex trade was aired?

  2. This was the first year our Superbowl party had to black out the commercials. We need to let them know that the millions of dollars spent landed on many deaf ears as many of us changed channels.

  3. I totally agree. Between commercials that constantly make men look like idiots, make women out to be purely sexual, and commercials for horror movies that even adults get scared to watch, I don’t know how anyone is supposed to let their kids watch football on tv…it’s ridiculous!

  4. I appreciate and agree with the concern over GoDaddy’s advertising. What would be some alternative domain registration companies that Covenant churches/institutions are having good experiences with?

  5. While I think we need to be discerning and I think that several of the adds, in the Super Bowl and beyond are not to my liking, I cringe a bit when I hear of the encouragement to protest.  I have observed that often when the Church protests products or services in a public way that we detract from our message and lose our effectiveness. I think if we are going to use public capital it should be on issues of justice and mercy for the marginalized and in ways that our objective and objections are clearly stated.  

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