NFL's domestic violence Super Bowl spot: 'It's up to us to listen'

Super Bowl ad takes on domestic violence
Super Bowl ad takes on domestic violence

The National Football League is running an ad during the Super Bowl addressing the issue that's been dogging it all year: Domestic Violence.

The somber spot, produced by the domestic violence advocacy group NoMore.org, is a stark contrast to the Super Bowl's traditionally humorous ads.

It shows a home that's obviously been the scene of a struggle, with broken pictures and a hole punched in the wall.

The soundtrack is a woman calling 911 but pretending to order a pizza in order not to anger her attacker. At first the male 911 operator tries to get her off the phone. Then he realizes she needs help but can't speak because her attacker is in the room. He tells her police are about a minute away and asks her to stay on the line but she hangs up.

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"When it's hard to talk, it's up to us to listen," say words that appear at the bottom of the screen.

The Super Bowl is by far the most high-profile adverting platform in media. Advertisers will spend $4.5 million for a 30-second spot this year, and often millions more producing the ads with high quality special effects and celebrity endorsers.

The NFL has a deal to run spots during every game that's broadcast, and it sometimes uses them to address public relations issues like serious player injuries.

NoMore.org ran dozens of public service commercials during the football season paid for by the NFL, featuring stars like Eli Manning knocking down excuses for domestic violence, saying "No more boys will be boys," and "No more it's just the way he is."

The total value of the airtime donated, including the Super Bowl spot, is about $50 million, said NFL spokeswoman Clare Graff.

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NoMore.org is an umbrella group of several different organizations that combat domestic violence and sexual assault.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was widely criticized earlier this year for how he handled domestic violence charges against some NFL players. Goodell suspended star running back Ray Rice for just two games after the player admitted to knocking out his then-fiancee. When a tape of him hitting her later surfaced, Goodell admited he had made a mistake and made the suspension indefinite.

The league was also criticized by top sponsors, including Anheuser Busch (BUD), which said the NFL was not doing enough to address domestic violence.

But most sponsors and team owners remained supportive of Goodell.

The NFL has also donated millions of dollars to domestic violence support groups in the wake of the controversy.

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