Focus’ ‘Supernanny’ ad a success, but reopens debate about rejected church ad |

Focus’ ‘Supernanny’ ad a success, but reopens debate about rejected church ad

DENVER – Focus on the Family may advertise on more reality shows after getting a big response from spots that it ran during ABC’s “Supernanny”.The ads were the first that the Christian ministry has run on national, prime-time TV. The show is about a British nanny who helps harried American couples discipline their children, and the ads promoted Focus’ faith-based parenting advice.Since the ads started, the group’s “Focus on Your Child” Web site has received about 70,000 hits, just under double what the group usually gets during that amount of time, spokeswoman Lisa Anderson said last week. About 10,000 people signed up to receive a newsletter and other materials with age-specific child rearing advice and encouragement for parents.However, the ads have reopened a debate over religious advertising on television.Last year, ABC, CBS and NBC would not run an ad from the United Church of Christ, a Protestant denomination based in Cleveland, because executives either thought the ads were too controversial or, in the case of ABC, because of a broad-based policy against advertisements that “present religious doctrine,” according to an ABC spokeswoman.The United Church of Christ, after seeing the Focus ads, is now asking ABC to clarify its policy on religious advertising.The Focus ad imagines what it would be like if children warned their parents before they misbehaved so parents could be prepared. A young boy says, “At bedtime tonight, it might get ugly.” A voiceover then makes a pitch for the group’s parenting advice and “a faith-based perspective that can make all the difference.”The United Church of Christ ad shows people lined up at a velvet rope outside a church and bouncers letting some in but rejecting others, including a man in a wheelchair and two men holding hands. The ad then says, “Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.”

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