This Sunday an expected 184 million Americans will tune in to watch the New England Patriots face off against the Seattle Seahawks in Superbowl XLIX. A tough game is expected with the two competitors evenly matched in their strategy, physicality, and aggression. As such, spectators can look forward to a lively and tense game.
There are many of us, however, who aren’t into the game as much as the camaraderie and the ritual. We take joy in hosting friends and family, wagering on squares, and devoting our attention to the commercials. Superbowl commercials are legendary, and this year we can expect more humor, puppies (or horses), and family-tearjerkers advertising cars, food, high-tech, and domestic violence awareness.
Yes, I said domestic violence awareness.
This year, in the lead-up to the big day, the national movement NO MORE has released PSAs designed to increase public awareness and engage bystanders around domestic violence and sexual assault. They’ve spotlighted NFL players in their “Say No More” and “Speechless” series (which also includes a number of celebrity spots) and, on Sunday, they’re set to release their paramount advertisement—a chilling 911 call. During an event that sells ad time at approximately $4.5 million for a 30 second slot, the NO MORE investment is significant, but is it effective?
According to a 2013 report by the Avon Foundation and NO MORE, 60% of Americans know a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault; however, 67 % of Americans say they have not talked about domestic violence with their friends and 73% percent have not discussed sexual assault.
It’s difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of a PSA campaign; especially one broadcast to such a wide audience. Perhaps we’ll have to wait until the next NO MORE study is conducted to see if the nation’s experiences of domestic violence and sexual assault are changing. It’s likely those metrics will be difficult to quantify and tie to the NO MORE campaigns. Still, we have to wonder. Does a Superbowl Sunday in which domestic violence is highlighted mark a paradigm shift? Or the beginnings thereof? What does this mean for domestic and sexual violence awareness? And, can this work affect the public’s health? What do you think?