CBS has decided it will not air an advertisement from gay dating website ManCrunch.com during Feb. 7’s Super Bowl XLIV, EW has confirmed. The ad depicts two football-watching men sharing a passionate kiss after their hands touch while reaching into a bowl of potato chips. “After reviewing the ad — which is entirely commercial in nature — our Standards and Practices department decided not to accept this particular spot,” a network rep said in a statement. “As always, we are open to working with the client on alternative submissions.” A rep for ManCrunch.com also confirmed the rejection and called the refusal to air the spot hypocritical. “We are totally of the opinion the ad was rejected due to the homosexual content,” spokeswoman Elissa Buchter said. She added, “The creative is PG-rated and doesn’t feature any tongue or overt sexuality.”
In a commercial clearance report form (provided to EW by ManCrunch.com), CBS notified the website that its ad had not been approved, stating that the creative content was not within in the Network’s Broadcast Standards for Super Bowl Sunday. The report also questioned the company’s finances. “Our Sales Department has had difficulty verifying your organization’s credit status,” the form states. “Should you wish to explore future buys on the CBS Television Network, the credit issue will have to be clarified.” A 30-second spot during this year’s Super Bowl costs an estimated $2.6 million.
Super Bowl advertising is often controversial and ads are routinely rejected, which has fueled speculation that this could be a ploy by ManCrunch.com to generate free publicity without ever actually intending to purchase air time during the game. ManCrunch.com, however, claims that’s not the case. “ManCrunch not only had the money to pay for the spot, they even offered CBS a cash advance,” the company stated. The CBS rep told EW: “We have absolutely no record of any such offer.”
CBS and its Super Bowl commercials made headlines earlier this week when women’s advocacy groups issued statements protesting the network’s decision to air a spot sponsored by Christian organization Focus on the Family, which features Florida Gators football star Tim Tebow, his mother, and what some are arguing is an overt pro-life message. “At CBS, our standards and practices process continues to adhere to a process that ensures all ads — on all sides of an issue — are appropriate for air,” the network said in response to that flap. “We will continue to consider responsibly produced ads from all groups for the few remaining spots in Super Bowl XLIV.”
More Super Bowl commercials: