Brees sent the real message for men

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 12, 2010

Obviously a stable, happy family life doesn’t sell cars. It doesn’t sell soap either.

There are two reasons to watch the Super Bowl. One is to watch the game, of course. And the second is to see the commercials.

Each year, Madison Avenue trucks out its most creative and thought-provoking ads at a cost of about $87,000 a second.

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OK, you can scratch the thought-provoking part. With nearly 106 million people watching, advertisers want to catch viewers’ attention and evidently the only way to catch that is with talking babies, scantily clad women and immature jokes. If you combine two or maybe three of these things you have a greater chance of scoring a touchdown with viewers.

Fat chance if you are trying to be thoughtful and offer a point of view like the evangelical organization Focus on the Family. The 30-second spot was built around University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and the fact that doctors told his mother to consider an abortion when she was pregnant with the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner. The feel-good commercial only hinted at the issue of abortion and was one of the least-watched of the Super Bowl according to Neilsen and one of the least-liked according to USA Today.

It may have been one of the few commercials aimed primarily at females. Interestingly, a new theme seemed to emerge this year from the advertisements directed toward the male audience.

You might call it the “Be a Man” theme.

According to some in Madison Avenue, men are constantly being beaten down by their families. Dutiful husbands submit to their nagging wives in order to give themselves permission to drive a Dodge Charger. Revving that 6.1-liter, V8 engine and racing that shiny black car through married life’s gritty streets is “man’s last stand,” the commercial claims.

And, if a brand new car doesn’t wipe away all the indignities of married life, you can wash them away with Dove Soap for Men.

Dockers not so subtly urged men to “wear the pants” in the house and Flo TV indicated that any man who shops with his wife rather than watching football is spineless.

Thankfully, another view of masculinity was on display outside the Super Bowl commercials Sunday night.

After defeating the Indianapolis Colts, there was Drew Brees hoisting his most prized possession in the air as red and white confetti streamed down. Instead of the lifting the Lombardi trophy, Brees stood transfixed by his 1-year-old son Baylen held high on his shoulders.

It may have been the most memorable image of the evening. Captured on camera, Brees tuned out the 70,000 roaring fans and the media melee and watched his son adoringly, kissed his hands and choked back tears all the while.

Those few seconds are the most watched Super Bowl moment of the game on You Tube topping the most popular commercials of the game.

The world of professional football has got to be one of the most ego-driven, male-centric environments in which to work and live. Imagine how difficult it is to keep in check those things that really matter.

Yet, there was Drew Brees standing on top of the world mesmerized not by the spectacle but by his toddler son.

Not only did Brees show what it meant to be a man with his Super Bowl performance Sunday night. He demonstrated what it is to be a father.

Ben Hillyer is the Web editor for The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or