Explicit Super Bowl ads draw complaints

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By JEAN TORKELSON

DENVER – Outraged Broncos fans flooded a Christian talk show Monday, complaining that this year’s Super Bowl broadcast was laced with offensive advertising. Offending TV ads included a Victoria’s Secret lingerie commercial, a spot featuring half-naked cartoon characters, and a promo for a Fox drama in which a character promised a sexual encounter for correctly answering a Super Bowl trivia contest.

“Family after family called us to say they were appalled and angered,” said Marty Minto, who hosts a radio talk show on KLZ. Minto said some pastors called to say they were especially disgusted because they had rented big screen TVs to show the game as a church event.

The Fox affiliate in Denver fielded some complaints, acknowledged John O’Laughlin, director of promotions and advertising. He told irate viewers to contact Fox Broadcasting in Beverly Hills. O’Laughlin, a Mormon, said he never watches football on Sundays because he must honor the Sabbath. This year he was required to work and saw part of the game. “I’m aware of some of the content in question,” said O’Laughlin. “People need to turn it off and write to (Fox). Unless they do that there’s not going to be a change.” A spokesman for the Fox network did not return phone calls.

The increasingly secular culture makes this a defining moment for men and their families, said a spokesman for Promise Keepers, the men’s Christian organization founded by former University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney. “We have to view television critically,” said Steve Chavis, who said he watched the game with about 20 people. On one hand, he said, the Super Bowl featured the kind of clever, funny commercials long associated with the broadcast. On the other hand, as a father of daughters, Chavis found the Victoria’s Secret commercial especially disturbing. “They weren’t selling lingerie, that commercial was for the entertainment of men.” Chavis said he’s mulling a campaign to raise millions of dollars to buy Super Bowl time next year to advertise Jesus Christ. “If we’re going to compete for the soul of the country,” said Chavis, “then we have to get into the public discussion.”