Focus on the Family president Jim Daly said the ministry’s
Web site was “crashing” the day after its hotly debated pro-life ad featuring Tim
Tebow aired during the Super Bowl.
The site experienced 40 times its normal volume of traffic,
drawing 50,000 unique visitors and 500,000 hits, according to USA Today.
Daly said the site would have crashed had Focus not beefed up its servers last
“I’m amazed at the ripple effect that this has caused,” Daly
said during Tuesday’s Focus on the Family radio broadcast. “We had one
goal in doing the ad and that was to open up the dialogue about the issue of
life … and I think we accomplished that with God’s grace.”
The commercial shows Pam Tebow talking about her “miracle
baby” who “almost didn’t make it into this world.” In the version that aired
during the Super Bowl, the ad ends with the Heisman Trophy winner tackling his
mom. (See ad below.)
Daly said his group won long before the ad even aired.
Before the commercial had been seen, a coalition of women’s groups including
the National Organization for Woman called for CBS to pull the ad because of
its pro-life message, making Focus the center of a media frenzy.
Alterian SM2, a software marketing company that monitors
social media, reported that between Dec. 1 and Monday at 3 a.m., Focus on the
Family generated more Super Bowl advertising-related conversations on social
media than any other advertiser, according to USA Today.
The comments were mostly negative at first, prompting
Americans United for Life Action created a “Support Tebow’s Super Bowl
Ad” Facebook page that had attracted 230,000 fans as of Monday.
After the commercial aired Sunday, positive responses
outnumbered negative ones 53 percent to 47 percent, according to Alterian SM2.
“The buzz since the ad aired has been nothing but,
‘What was all the controversy about?'” Gary Schneeberger, vice president
of ministry communications for Focus on the Family, told the ministry’s CitizenLink
newsletter. “This wasn’t political. This wasn’t advocacy. This wasn’t
controversial. It’s an inspirational story about a mother and son who love each
Jehmu Greene, president of The Women’s Media Center, said
the commercial was “benign” but that it “tried to hide Focus on the
Family’s intolerant and divisive agenda.” She added that she was surprised that
it and the Snickers ads showed women being tackled by football players.
“Snickers rags on older people by comparing lagging players
to Betty White and Abe Vigoda and then slamming them into the ground,” she
wrote in a blog Monday. “The Focus on the Family ad tried a strange stab at
humor when Tim Tebow sacked his own mother. Not funny, just unsettling.”
Focus tells the rest of the Tebows’ story on its Web site,
where two versions of the commercial are posted. During her pregnancy, Pam
Tebow got sick while on mission trip to the Philippines and was advised to
abort her fifth child because doctors feared the medication she was given had
caused irreversible damage. She ignored the doctors’ advice and gave birth to
“I believe we need women and men to choose life more often
than we are today,” Daly said Tuesday. “And that’s something we can do now. We
don’t need to wait for Roe v. Wade to be turned over. We need to make that
irrelevant. We need couples, women, to say, ‘I want to give that baby a
chance.’ We’re a good enough nation to do that. And so that was the goal of our