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Dating Site's Ludicrous Claim: NBC Rejects Plus-Size Women Ad in Super Bowl

Tradition of Equally Ludicrous PR Strategy Begins Ahead of Game

By Published on . 3

Listen up, marketers. These will be the only words I'm devoting to the tired practice of trying to drum up media coverage by claiming a network banned your ad from the Super Bowl when the truth is it never had a shot (and shame on any media outlet that picks this up as a legit story).

This year's first entrant is dating website TheBigandTheBeautiful.com. Here is the release:

I wanted to pass along an ad that has been rejected by NBC. The ad stars America's Next Top Model winner and plus -sized model Whitney Thompson. She believes they rejected the commercial because it features bigger women and not the skinnier accepted norm.

The ad is for TheBigAndTheBeautiful.com -- a dating site for plus -sized men and women that was founded by Thompson. NBC Universal's rejection email said: "Unfortunately it needs to be completely reworked for our air. S&P [Standards and Practices] wouldn't approve it." The ad can be viewed here.

You should note that NBC didn't "ban" the commercial, but said it needs to be completely reworked.

Let us view this ad and see if NBC has a leg to stand on.

Other things to note:

  • Horrible production value
  • Bad acting
  • Blatant reference to the sexual experience (or lack thereof) of women
  • A gratuitous ass shot
  • Lust in an elevator

Maybe you can argue that because this is supposed to be a play on a soap opera, the production values and acting are bad on purpose. But this looks less like a soap opera and more like internet porn.

More important, note that the gratuitous ass shot isn't of a plus -size woman, but of a woman who meets "the skinnier accepted norm."

In the past, some companies have tried to plant these stories when it was pretty obvious they didn't even have the money to pay for a Super Bowl spot. Through her PR agency, Whitney Thompson said: "TheBigAndTheBeautiful just launched, and the Super Bowl is the best way to make a big splash and be noticed by millions of people. Our ad is fun, sexy, and speaks to the demographic, so of course we were prepared to spend $3 million dollars."

She also pointed out that "Super Bowl ads are always risque, and ours is actually quite tame in comparison with some other companies' ads."

After all, GoDaddy and beer ads have shown babes in bikinis. And there are plenty of veiled references to what these products might lead the male demographic to (wink, wink; nudge, nudge).

But even for a crass, tactless individual such as myself, this ad was on the wrong side of the line. And it had nothing to do with the service being offered or the plus -size model in the ad. Nah, it was the three-second butt-shot (of the skinny woman), the grease-balls slobbering over the computer (note the Post-It covering up the logo) looking for a woman who isn't "too sexually experienced," the awful attempt at humor involving a cherry and the implied threesome (again, with the skinny woman) toward the end of the spot.

All this aside, the PR move here -- showing this ad to the media and claiming it was rejected because of some bias -- puts TheBigandTheBeautiful not in line with dating sites such as Match.com or eHarmony, but rather with Ashley Madison, the "dating" site for people looking to cheat on their spouses.

But maybe you disagree?

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