Is it offensive for a Super Bowl ad to invite viewers to look up a reference familiar to football culture? FOX Sports might be unintentionally insulting the intelligence of its viewers.
Super Bowl XLV is around the corner, meaning ‘tis the season to see industries grapple for the chance to flash their half a minute long messages to millions of viewers. Because the expensive ad slots are only about 30 seconds long, some of the marketing-minded opt for the shock factor. Whatever is gross, sensual, creepy and overall fatuous is expected to hook consumers and sell products and ideas. Commercialists almost seem to condescendingly ask themselves, “If I have only 30 seconds to speak to millions of thoughtless people, what can I play that will keep their consumptive eyes glued to the screen?”
A different question was posed by Larry Taunton, executive director of the Alabama-based Christian organization Fixed Point Foundation. “If you had thirty seconds to tell the world one thing, what would it be?” After pondering the opportunity to share a message with the largest television audience in history, the answer was simple and profound: A message of hope.
John 3:16 is a message of hope that not only was told by the most exceptional figure in world history, Jesus Christ – it is a message with a reference that has become part of the culture of football. From hand drawn fan signs to players’ eye black, the Gospel verse has become part of the stadium landscape. But has anyone thought to look it up?
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