I never cease to be amazed how God works.
By now it’s likely you know about our Super Bowl ad with Pam and Tim Tebow. But what you may not know is the genesis of the idea. In a way it snuck up on us in God’s perfect timing. I was completing some work in our video studio at Focus on the Family when one of our film team members, Mark Waters, tossed out an idea which he had been kicking around for a year.
Mark said he thought the story of Tim Tebow and his mother would make for a powerful message in an ad. As he described what he envisioned, I said, “You know, Mark, I think that’d make for a fantastic Super Bowl ad.” We talked about that approach the rest of the day, made a few phone calls and did our homework. The next day we contacted CBS to determine the cost.
I knew if God was in this, He’d have to provide the funds since there was no way our budget could have absorbed the cost.
Within a couple of days, I was visiting with a donor in California to discuss a number of special projects under consideration. At the end of our time I said, “I’ve got one idea that’s not on paper. It’s just something that’s on my heart.” He wanted to hear what the “other” project was. I told him about the Tebow Super Bowl ad idea, and with a little thought, he said he’d give us $1 million to help underwrite the project! He said he sensed the Lord would be in something like that.
I was encouraged by this family’s support for the ad. It gave me the courage to keep going.
The next day, I called another donor and laid out the idea. He listened with great interest and then promised to call me back in a few minutes. After speaking with his wife, he called and said that he would donate a million dollars to make that dream a reality! The rest was history as a few others stepped up to complete the funding.
Talk about amazing.
I think that simple process shows God’s hand was in this ad from the beginning. It was the right moment and the right story in which to engage the country in a conversation about how we might protect and celebrate human life. The ad has certainly done that. Never in our wildest dreams could we have predicted the level of publicity before, during, and after the game.
It turned out to be a great investment. Focus on the Family received almost $32 million in “earned media”—that’s the estimated value of additional media coverage which we didn’t have to pay for as the media covered the story. In fact, I’m told this story generated 6.3 billion impressions.
What’s more, a number of the more liberal-leaning newspapers, including The New York Times, The Chicago Sun Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post all came out in defense of us when those who don’t share our pro-life view took issue with the ad before seeing it. Not only was there enormous pre- and post-game interest, about 1.5 million people viewed the extended interview with the Tebows on our website.
This week I’ll be sharing more details about the impact the Tebow ad has been making in the lives of many families with a number of local radio stations around the country (see below). If you’re in one of those listening areas, please tune in. And more importantly, let’s continue the national dialogue about preserving and protecting life.
To God be the glory.
Wednesday, March 17:
8:15 a.m. WMCA New York City, NY
8:40 a.m. WFSH Atlanta, GA
9:00 a.m. WNIV Atlanta, GA
9:20 a.m. KKMS Minneapolis, MN
10:30 a.m. WAVA Washington DC, Don Kroah Show
3:35 p.m. WYLL Chicago, IL, Sandy Rios Show
4:30 p.m. KFAX San Francisco, CA
4:55 p.m. KGNW Seattle, WA, Live with Doug Brusch
Thursday, March 18:
1:30 p.m. WFIL Philadelphia, PA, Mark Daniels Show
4:30 p.m. KSLR San Antonio, TX
Friday, March 19:
4:00 p.m. KPDQ Portland, OR, Georgene Rice Show