When the Super Bowl rolls around, expect a frenzy of publicity for advertisements rejected by the hosting broadcast network. This time, the Web is buzzing with news about an ad for a gay dating site losing favour with CBS. A spot for ManCrunch.com
(above) won't run during Sunday's Super Bowl because CBS said "our Standards and Practices department decided not to accept this particular spot."
In other words, the material in the ad has made CBS execs uncomfortable. CBS offered
another reason for the rejection: “Moreover, our sales department has had difficulty verifying your organization’s credit status.”
So what's the big deal about the ad? The 30-second spot shows two men watching a football game and then they both reach for the chips. Their hands meet and they immediately begin kissing. A third man watches them with a curious look. The ad ends with a flash of the URL and the tagline: "Where many many many men come out and play."
A 30-second commercial airing on CBS during the football game costs between $2.5 million and $3 million.
Avid Life Media
, which runs adult dating websites including extramarital-affair site AshleyMadison.com, is behind the new gay male dating site. It launched last week and it reportedly has attracted 60,000 members.
In an interview with Digital Journal, Avid Life Media founder Noel Biderman said the ManCrunch ad will likely appear on other media outlets. "We see the ad running on traditional TV, perhaps in Canada where people are more liberal," he said.
The company hasn't inked any deals yet with broadcasters, but Biderman is hopeful the softcore ad will find a media home soon.
Biderman stressed how Avid Life is now turning to plan B after the CBS rejection. It plans to "execute its media plan" by courting networks in the coming weeks. It's not like they don't have the money, Biderman adds.
"CBS didn't do the research. They should call our advertising partners at Fox and Sirius to see how we can afford these ads."
So what makes ManCrunch so special? After all, the Web is bloated with dozens of gay male dating sites.
Biderman claims those other dating sites promote flings and brief sexual relationships, while ManCrunch is focused on long-term unions. "I know this is ironic coming the founder of AshleyMadison.com," he admits, "but Avid Life understands people's needs, no matter what they are. We define niches that are haven't been explored or are immature."
Coinciding with a storm of publicity over ManCrunch.com is Avid Life's financial news: it had planned to go public on the Toronto Stock Exchange in several week to raise at least $60 million in an initial public offering, but insider sources told Reuters "efforts to woo investors seem to have met with a cool response." Analysts believe banks and major investors were hesitant to get involved in any deal.
Biderman declined to comment on any matter relating to Avid Life's IPO.
This year, the buzz over controversial Super Bowl ads isn't limited solely to ManCrunch. A pro-life ad
featuring college football star Tim Tebow (and Focus on Family) will air on CBS during the big game, and the political statement has sparked online petitions calling on CBS network to withdraw it.
Thomas Young, marketing coordinator at ManCrunch.com, told DigitalJournal.com he sees a double standard in allowing the pro-life ad and rejecting the dating site ad. "The fact that CBS approved the Focus on Family ad made us think CBS would be approving all spots from advocacy groups. We thought it'd be a slam dunk."