Christian MediaEngaging Culture

Focus on the Family Succeeded with Super Bowl Spot

After a storm of controversy,  Focus on the Family’s Super Bowl spot featuring Tim Tebow was a huge success USA Today reports.  The spot topped Alterian’s study of media buzz, translated as online mentions by scoring higher than any other spot.  The study looks at number of online conversations generated by the different advertisers.  The Focus website ballooned to 40 times it’s normal volume after the game.   The truth is, the ad scored low in USA Today’s “Ad Meter” – a real time consumer testing survey as the ads are broadcast.  There, it rated only 54th out of 65 SB ads.  However, the vast amount of publicity both before and after the game made it a winner.

One of the more interesting reports is that between December 1st 2009 and the Monday after the game, Focus on the Family generated more Super Bowl advertising related online conversations than any other advertiser, including Anheuser-Busch, Google, and Dorritos.   The USA Today story list many more benefits, including 5,000 more subscriptions to the ministry magazine.

It’s too early to chart the long term impact of the spot (if any), but for the short term, it appears they clearly scored big.

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  1. What’s the definition of successful? Just breaking down the numbers – but $3 million spent to get 5,000 subscriptions is $600/subscription…

    $3m / 500,000 hits = $6 per click… usually AdWords will get you clicks for $0.25 if you target right :-)….

    Granted it was a big score, but for it to be successful, what is the bar and how does that relate to cost of entry?

  2. I agree Phil, its about impact on a culture. I believe that is what Focus is after in running the Super Bowl spot.

    It just makes me laugh and shake my head when I hear Christians criticize others for spending money to spread the Gospel message. It takes $$$ period.

    I don’t hear Christians criticizing any other industry, brand, or organization for spending millions for a thirty second spot, just to get their brand or message in your brain, but don’t let a christian organization do it. hear comes the critics.

    I hope Focus keeps finding ways to spread the Gospel and get noticed. As you see, even US Today and i’m sure others in the industry are taking notice.

    The Church is not going to win people in the world by segregating ourselves, we have to get out there in the world and impact it. We are called to be in the front leading the way, not trying to catch up.

    For Focus on the Family to generate more Super Bowl advertising related online conversations than any other advertiser is a big success.

    Thanks for sharing Phil
    Keep up the good work.

    One day you should share how much it costs you in time and $$$ to keep this blog going….or maybe not, you will probably be flooded with critics.

    Love your work

  3. It’s about far more than magazine subscriptions.  It’s about sharing a message will millions of people who would never otherwise see it.  It’s about engaging the culture in a different way.  While it’s important to see results, and track stats, we have to remember that influence isn’t just about numbers…

  4. I’m not taking sides here.


    I can clearly see the case for the Mat 25 argument.

    This was parachurch marketing and not a gospel invitation to accept Christ as Lord and Savior.

    As far as the $$$ needed to spread the gospel goes ~ God doesn’t need me or my money or Focus or the Super Bowl ~ and Phil has made the point in previous national interviews that he didn’t believe anybody was going to come to Jesus because of this spot but that it would open the door for conversation and reflection.

    What makes me laugh and shake my head is the ‘need’ to continue to waste time, talent and money. The gospel spreads virally in the underground church and third world countries without TVs, the means to produce and or buy TV advertising, or permission to run the ads.

    People accepting Christ, church growth and plants are happening at exponential rates in places where broadcast messages are not available nor would they be allowed.

    My two pesos.

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