What I Have Seen and Heard
Published: February 16, 2012
Two weeks ago, millions of people watched Super Bowl XLVI and those now almost essential parts of this classic sporting event—the wonderfully clever commercials that have fast become an indispensable ingredient of the game. Admittedly, these commercials can be very imaginative and quite witty. And now broadcasters not only engage in Monday morning quarterbacking regarding the football game but they also weigh in on the cleverness of the commercials that were aired during the game.
Rarely, however, are any television commercials agents of any significant moral character. One recent television commercial does seem to break into that rarified category. A current QuikTrip television commercial depicts the drama of a father insisting that his teenage daughter dress more appropriately before leaving the house—much to the young girl’s obvious frustration! He keeps rejecting her successive selected attire and his insistence results in not having very much time left for breakfast—enter then the convenience of a QuikTrip breakfast stop. The commercial is ingenious in making its point about the convenience of the service station’s fast food options. But more important is the interchange between an insistent dad and his equally frustrated daughter.
I’m certain that this drama has been played out in many a home—or at least I hope it has, as parents confront the fashion statements that their youngsters often are trying to make. Whoever devised the commercial may not have intended for it to focus on this particular issue, but the end result is a welcome reflection on a topic that does deserve attention. Not every outfit is appropriate for our youngsters to wear—whether the overly suggestive skirts for girls or the gravity-defying pants worn by boys. Parents often do have to engage in sartorial censorship much to the frustration of their youngsters. The Church should help them in their efforts.
Our most recent Archdiocesan Pastoral Council spent a lot of time discussing this issue, and we have made some suggestions regarding how the Church can more actively support the challenges that parents regularly face in helping their children make appropriate decisions regarding their attire—never a very happy encounter as I am sure most parents can attest.
We will be designing and making available some banners that our parishes may choose to display to help highlight some of the attire and the practices that are not appropriate for Church, such as the perpetual use of mobile devices, chewing gum while in church and wearing excessively suggestive clothing. We will try to make our banners as engaging as those commercials so that people get their message and endorse their values—no easy task to be sure. But that’s what really good commercials do—they cause people to stop and to reflect and to remember. A good commercial markets a product and makes it more appealing.
After viewing that QuikTrip commercial now numerous times, I am more inclined to gas up at QuikTrip. I may not often need to use their fast convenient food service, but I do have more positive feelings about them since their commercial caught my attention and drove home a point that I think needs driving home more often. Any corporation that can manage with its commercials to do that does deserve my trade—maybe yours, too!