Gay men's dating site too racy for Super Bowl?
Published Sunday, January 31, 2010 3:15PM EST
Millions of men will get together next weekend to watch the Super Bowl, but according to the big game's U.S. broadcaster, football fans don't want to see those men get too close.
According to online reports, CBS has rejected a 30-second ad for ManCrunch.com, a Toronto-based dating website for gay men who are not open about their sexuality.
The site bills itself as "the premier service connecting men with other men and allowing them to open up about the down low."
The ad features two guys, one wearing a Green Bay Packers jersey and another sporting a Minnesota Vikings jersey, sitting on a couch seemingly enjoying a game on television.
When their hands meet over a bowl of chips, sparks fly and the two begin kissing.
Entertainment websites such as TMZ.com and PerezHilton.com, as well as the site for Advertising Age magazine, picked up the story Saturday, posting links to the ad.
They also quoted a statement from CBS, which read: "After reviewing the ad -- which is entirely commercial in nature -- our Standards and Practices department decided not to accept this particular spot. As always, we are open to working with the client on alternative submissions."
A call and an email from CTV.ca to a press officer for ManCrunch were not immediately returned Sunday.
But AdAge.com quoted a spokesperson for the site who said the company is "really surprised there's a problem. (The ad) is not offensive and it's not racy."
The spokesperson said the site has only been up and running for about a month, and it would help their business to reach the Super Bowl's predominantly male audience.
"Ninety million men watch the Super Bowl," the spokesperson said.
Some online reports have questioned whether the start-up could have afforded the $2 million to $3 million a 30-second Super Bowl spot would cost, and have suggested Mancruch.com submitted an ad it knew would be rejected just to get publicity.
But the site's spokesperson maintains ManCrunch submitted to a credit check to prove it could afford to purchase the ad space.
Either way, the site has indeed benefited from the online firestorm.
According to web traffic stats posted on Alexa.com, the number of global Internet users who visit the site has spiked from 0.0006 per cent earlier this month to 0.013 per cent on Sunday.
More ad controversy
In another twist to the controversy, CBS's decision to nix the ManCrunch ad follows an earlier announcement that it has accepted a pro-life ad featuring college football star Tim Tebow.
Tebow, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback for the University of Florida, will appear in a 30-second spot for conservative Christian group Focus on the Family alongside his mother, Pam.
While working as a missionary in the Philippines in 1985, Pam contracted dysentery while pregnant with Tim and was advised by a doctor to have an abortion because the prescription medication could harm the fetus. She refused.
Critics, such as the Women's Media Center, the National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority, have all called on CBS to pull the ad, but the network has so far refused.