Above: A scene from PETA's 'Veggie Love' Super Bowl Ad, the commercial NBC says is "to hot" for game-day viewing. [Photo: PETA]
Apparently the NBC television network, the broadcast network for this year's Super Bowl football championship game/American national holiday event, doesn't do sexy -- at least when it comes to fresh produce-inspired, sensuality-oriented commercials appearing on its upcoming telecast of the big game.
In its somewhat distorted wisdom, General Electric, Inc.-owned NBC, which has been known to run a sexually suggestive soap opera, prime time television serious and movie or two on the network, (not to mention sex-themed commercials), has rejected a Super Bowl Sunday ad spot from the non-profit animal rights and pro-veggie organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) on the grounds that the commercial is just "plain too sexy" to appear on the network as part of its Super Bowl telecast.
PETA's Super Bowl ad, "Veggie Love," which features a bevy of beauties who are powerless to resist the temptation of veggie love, was deemed "too hot" for the Super Bowl, NBC says. NBC rejected the video because of concerns over "rubbing pelvic region with pumpkin," a woman "screwing herself with broccoli," and more, a company spokesman said today without cracking a smile. [In the spirit of "equal time," you can read NBC's complete list of concerns about the commercial here.]
But what about all those "hot" beer commercials from Super Bowl's past, we wonder? Maybe that was on ABC, CBS or Fox? Or is NBC's rejection of the PETA "Veggie Love" ad really all about fear of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)? Remember the "Janet Jackson moment" and the resulting fining of the network that aired the footage, even though it was on an awards show and not a commercial spot, by the FCC?
the rejected PETA ad shows numerous extremely attractive woman let us say "losing themselves" in the freshness and sensuality of fresh produce.
No men are shown enjoying the more sensual side of the veggies in the ad. We presume that's because most Super Bowl advertisers' target audience on game day are men. But we all know many women watch the Super Bowl as well. Of course, it's doubtful that the mere inclusion of a male or two in the "veggie love" commercial spot would have been enough to change NBC's mind in terms of running the ad. But doing so would have been more equal opportunity.
We think the censors at NBC should think twice about judging what the American people should or should not view. after all, isn't NBC the same network, along with the others, that's always the first to cry censorship when one group or another wants the network to ban a program (or ad spot) it feels is overly sexually explicit or offers some other offensive element to the group? Yep, the same NBC.
And aren't the TV networks famous for pulling out and using that saying they created: "If people don't want to watch it (an offensive to them program or commercial) all they have to do is press the off button on the television?"
But we guess "Veggie Love" is just a bit too much for the NBC brass. This despite the fact PETA was willing to pay the same millions of dollars for its Super Bowl commercial spot as everybody else is, including food and grocery companies PepsiCo and Kelloggs, both of which will be running Super Bowl spots. We didn't know PETA had that kind of cash on hand, by the way.
But you see, since it is the Super Bowl, and there are so many companies willing to buy ad spots (more demand than there is supply), it just might be that rejecting the PETA ad, and the millions of dollars that come with it in revenue for NBC, was easy since the once-annual Super Bowl event is the hottest advertising ticket around for TV networks. There were plenty of others waiting to take PETA's ad time slot.
We wonder if NBC would have rejected the same PETA ad, say for the same amount of money, if the animal rights and pro-veggie, non meat-eater loving group wanted to run it on the network at anytime other than on Super Bowl Sunday? What do you think? Would not the green eye shade-wearing guys at NBC veto the censors? After all, NBC and its parent company General Electric are hurting for revenue in this severe recession.
But alas the only sexy veggies on Super Bowl Sunday will be those viewers create in their own kitchens and display on serving trays for guests watching the game at their homes. We suspect some creative food styling can be done with carrot sticks, celery stalks, broccoli florets and other fresh veggie snack fare -- all in the raw and in their natural sensual state of course. Image the added sensuality if those veggies also are organic and locally-grown.
Meanwhile, NBC is handing PETA a public relations gift of gold. The animal rights, pro-veggie organization is beginning to get all sorts of ink, a video of its NBC-rejected Super Bowl commercial is now up on YouTube and other sites, and between today and Super Bowl Sunday the word-of-mouth buzz, media mentions and views of its video will likely provide the veggie-loving group with even more exposure than they would have received with its Super Bowl ad -- and without spending the millions for the commercial. In fact, PETA now has the "Veggie Love" Super Bowl ad issue at the very top of its Web site here. It's a PR goldmine in the making.
We happen to enjoy (eating) meat, as well as fruits and veggies (all from a culinary-only perspective of course), so we aren't what you would call "Friends of PETA" in the sense that we share all of the group's advocacy positions. But we do call them like we see them. And in this case we think NBC looks super-silly in its rejection of the ad for its Super Bowl Sunday telecast.
We do think the PETA ad, if shown on the Super Bowl Sunday telecast, might just have provided the fresh produce industry and America's food and grocery retailers with the most massive "post-game" spike in fresh produce sales in history. So in this regard PETA's loss is the fresh produce industry's and grocer's loss as well. (Tongue only partially in cheek.)
In learning of NBC's rejection of the hot and steamy ad we are reminded of what a 10-year old boy we know said the other day to a boy a couple years older than him, in a different context of course. The 10 year old said to the 12-year old who was teasing him: "Grow up already."
We think this is good advice for NBC regarding it rejection of the ad featuring attractive women and fresh produce -- "Grow up already." The people watching the Super Bowl can turn their heads, go to the kitchen to get some real veggies, or in a worse-case scenario press the TV remote control off button for 30 seconds when the spot comes on if they find it offensive.
[You can watch the PETA "Veggie Love" commercial video at this link: 'Veggie Love': PETA's Banned Super Bowl Ad. Or view it here from the PETA Website. Unlike NBC, Natural~Specialty Foods Memo (NSFM) doesn't censor our readers. However, if you feel strongly that fresh veggies should not be used in non-culinary ways, you might not want to view the video. More on the Peta issue...Video: Too Hot for TV: More Banned PETA Ads. And: Read NBC's Sexually-Explicit Rejection E-mail. Finally: Subscribe to the PETA YouTube channel.]
"Hand me the veggie tray" and "Please pass the dipping sauce" could have taken on whole new meanings this Super Bowl Sunday we suspect had PETA been able to run its "Veggie Love" commercial during the game. Super Bowl Sunday might have never been the same.