ESPN rejects, then accepts Cardinal Glennon's ad mentioning Jesus

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by KMOV.com Staff | @KMOV

KMOV.com

Posted on December 12, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 13 at 7:32 AM

(KMOV.com) – A local hospital’s advertisement caused a stir after sports newtork ESPN rejected it, citing advocacy standards. But the network later accepted it after mounting public pressure.

The ad, submitted to ESPN by Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, was scheduled to air Saturday during the VCU- Northern Iowa basketball game on ESPN U.

Cardinal Glennon was initially informed the ad was rejected.


The ad can be found here.


When asked about the ad’s rejection, ESPN issued the following statement.

“As originally submitted, the spot did not meet our commercial advocacy standards.  We have since been supplied with a different commercial which will air on the 14th.”

It is believed the ad was rejected under the section on page five of ESPN’s Advertising Standards and Guidelines pertaining to advocacy and issue-oriented advertising.

In the ad, promoting the hospital’s Tree of Hope campaign aimed at spurring the public to submit uplifting messages to ailing children for the holiday, there are two instances of religious language.

The first says “At SSM Cardinal Glennon, we celebrate the birth of Jesus and the season of giving; Bringing hope to the many children, parents and families that we serve.”

The second comes at the end of the ad, saying, “Help us reveal God’s healing presence this Christmas. Send your message of hope at glennon.org.”

In the advocacy section of ESPN’s advertising standards, the language reads, “ESPN does not accept advertising that consists of, in whole or in part, political or religious advocacy, or issue-oriented advertising.”

Cardinal Glennon responded by submitting a new ad, replacing the Tree of Hope spot. That ad was devoid of any religious language.

Though the new ad was approved, administrators were disappointed with the switch. While the language may have conflicted with the policy, members of the Children’s Foundation felt the ultimate message of the ad was lost.

“The commercial in question … was meant to connect with viewers during this Christmas season and encourage them to send a message of hope to sick children at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center,” said Dan Buck, Vice President of the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation. “While we understand ESPN has the right to reject commercials, we are disappointed in their decision.”

Then, just before 3 p.m. Thursday, ESPN reversed its decision.

“We have again reviewed the ads submitted for the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and have concluded that we will accept the original requested commercial,” said ESPN’s Josh Krulewitz.  “This decision is consistent with our practice of individual review of all ads under our commercial advocacy standards.”

The ad will air as initially scheduled Saturday. 

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