Parenting Blog

Watching Football, Watching Ads

I never thought that I would say this, but I believe wholeheartedly that there is going to come a time when the TV is totally dark on Sunday afternoons. And I just am not talking exclusively about from February 10th (the week after the Super Bowl) through early September.

I would like nothing more than to continue allowing my daughter to snuggle up and watch an NFL game or two with her Daddy but the barrage of terrible, tasteless, sexual and sexist advertising that comes across during the course of one three hour contest is too much to bare. The central fixture of a Sunday afternoon has been, for the past couple months, a commercial featuring Jessica Simpson (I cannot recall the product). At the end of the ad she admits she hasn’t a clue about the product she is selling – because, you know, she is just a dumb girl. The sexy, barely dressed, dumb girl character plays a prominent role in our culture (and I use that term loosely) and in the advertising strategy of many a major corporation and entity. This image of a woman is one of the last things I would want my daughter to see as she grows up. This world is challenging enough for a young lady to flourish and establish herself as an strong, bold and confident individual.

When we traveled overseas this past Autumn, I subcribed to NFL Field Pass. This service, which costs $10 a month, allows me to listen to every home team broadcasts of every NFL game and pregame show via the website. This service goes silent when the commercials come on and begins again when the broadcast returns. Very cool. I may go “all audio” on Sundays starting next year.

We talk to her now about the images projected on the television and explain, often quite bluntly, what those companies are trying to sell us and why – but the sheer quantity and force of the marketing may overwhelm our best efforts. The only choice may be to thumb our noses at the television all together – even if that means no football for daddy-o. Yikes.


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