Parents up in arms over Super Bowl ads

February 6, 2012

The NFL apologized Monday for rapper M.I.A.'s inappropriate Super Bowl gesture. But her flashing of the middle finger during the halftime show wasn't the only display that had a parents watchdog group up in arms, reported.

This year's commercials, which began airing at 6:30 p.m. ET — a time when millions of children could be tuning in — were racier and more sexually suggestive than ever, according to the Parents Television Council.

Among the offenders were a hypersexualized Teleflora ad promising your girlfriend will do anything you want if you just order her some flowers; a Toyota Camry ad featuring a couch made of lingerie-clad models; and a Fiat commercial where a beautiful model seduces a man on the street, has foam from a drink dripped on her chest, then turns into a car.

But this year it wasn't just the ladies who bared all. In the same Camry ad, several Speedo-clad men were similarly used as seating, and a racy ad for H&M featured a topless David Beckham preening in his underwear.


"We are hearing shock and concern from our members, particularly about the Fiat ad and the David Beckham ad," said Dan Isett, the Director of Public Policy for the Parents Television Council.

"It was shockingly explicit material for the audience," he explained. "These ads didn't air at one in the morning on cable. This was the Super Bowl. How do parents explain to their kids what a famous soccer star is doing in his underwear?"

However, the saucy black-and-white Beckham offering was the second-most popular ad, according to Brand Bowl 2012. Only the Doritos spot, featuring one man and his very bad dog, proved more popular, generating 48,498 tweets, 29 percent of which were positive.

Brand Bowl monitored 400,000 Twitter comments about the Super Bowl commercials and ranked them in order according to the volume of chatter they created and their popularity.

"There were many spots that parents will be offended by. The Super Bowl is such a big deal because it is regarded as a family event," Isett told "The NFL and their broadcast partners are running a serious risk here with their brand. At some point they are going to lose the cachet of the Super Bowl being appropriate for families."