Focus on the Family president Jim Daly said the ministry's Web site was "crashing" the day after its hotly debated pro-life ad featuring Tim Tebow aired during the Super Bowl.
The site experienced 40 times its normal volume of traffic, drawing 50,000 unique visitors and 500,000 hits, according to USA Today. Daly said the site would have crashed had Focus not beefed up its servers last week.
"I'm amazed at the ripple effect that this has caused," Daly said during Tuesday's Focus on the Family radio broadcast. "We had one goal in doing the ad and that was to open up the dialogue about the issue of life ... and I think we accomplished that with God's grace."
The commercial shows Pam Tebow talking about her "miracle baby" who "almost didn't make it into this world." In the version that aired during the Super Bowl, the ad ends with the Heisman Trophy winner tackling his mom.
Daly said his group won long before the ad even aired. Before the commercial had been seen, a coalition of women's groups including the National Organization for Woman called for CBS to pull the ad because of its pro-life message, making Focus the center of a media frenzy.
Alterian SM2, a software marketing company that monitors social media, reported that between Dec. 1 and Monday at 3 a.m., Focus on the Family generated more Super Bowl advertising-related conversations on social media than any other advertiser, according to USA Today.
The comments were mostly negative at first, prompting Americans United for Life Action created a "Support Tebow's Super Bowl Ad" Facebook page that had attracted 230,000 fans as of Monday.
After the commercial aired Sunday, positive responses outnumbered negative ones 53 percent to 47 percent, according to Alterian SM2.
"The buzz since the ad aired has been nothing but, 'What was all the controversy about?'" Gary Schneeberger, vice president of ministry communications for Focus on the Family, told the ministry's CitizenLink newsletter. "This wasn't political. This wasn't advocacy. This wasn't controversial. It's an inspirational story about a mother and son who love each other."
Jehmu Greene, president of The Women's Media Center, said the commercial was "benign" but that it "tried to hide Focus on the Family's intolerant and divisive agenda." She added that she was surprised that it and the Snickers ads showed women being tackled by football players.
"Snickers rags on older people by comparing lagging players to Betty White and Abe Vigoda and then slamming them into the ground," she wrote in a blog Monday. "The Focus on the Family ad tried a strange stab at humor when Tim Tebow sacked his own mother. Not funny, just unsettling."
Focus tells the rest of the Tebows' story on its Web site, where two versions of the commercial are posted. During her pregnancy, Pam Tebow got sick while on mission trip to the Philippines and was advised to abort her fifth child because doctors feared the medication she was given had caused irreversible damage. She ignored the doctors' advice and gave birth to Tim.
"I believe we need women and men to choose life more often than we are today," Daly said Tuesday. "And that's something we can do now. We don't need to wait for Roe v. Wade to be turned over. We need to make that irrelevant. We need couples, women, to say, 'I want to give that baby a chance.' We're a good enough nation to do that. And so that was the goal of our ad."
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