|GoDaddy's spot was vetted and approved for airing in the first quarter but has lost favor within Fox by the fourth when its second scheduled airing was killed. Watch the spot on the 'TV Spots of the Week' Video Page.
'Out of step'
And now, neither Fox nor the National Football League is talking about the incident beyond Fox's terse statement, saying that midway through the game network officials realized that the ad's content was "out of step with the tenor" of the event.
GoDaddy is a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company that manages and sells Internet domain names. It was, until last week, virtually unknown to all but a relatively small group of Internet users who employ its technical services.
But that changed when the first version of its Super Bowl commercial, created by the Ad Store of New York, was initially rejected by Fox, generating pregame buzz about content too sexual and controversial to be used in the Super Bowl. The company and its agency altered the ad enough that it was finally accepted by Fox for airplay in the first and fourth quarters.
Set in a mock congressional committee hearing, the spot starred a young women whose very large breasts were constrained within a very skimpy camisole that suffered a near "wardrobe malfunction." The story line was a satirical jab at the government's recent moves to more tightly regulate TV and radio content that falls within the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission.
Replaced with another ad
It's ironic, then, that an ad criticizing the concept of TV content censorship was itself censored and killed from further play by Fox and replaced by another ad.
On his GoDaddy.com blog, company owner Bob Parsons wrote, "We immediately contacted Fox to find out what happened. Here's what we were told: After our first ad was aired, the NFL became upset and they, together with Fox, decided to pull the ad from running a second time. Because we purchased two spots, we were also entitled to a 'Brought to you by GoDaddy.com' 5 second marquis spot. They also chose to pull the marquis spot."
However, Mr. Parsons was not mourning the development. In the often upside down world of public relations and advertising, the cancellation of the ad turned out to be a major publicity coup for GoDaddy. In interviews with press outlets, Mr. Parsons crowed that "millions of people across the country who didn't know we existed are now aware of GoDaddy.com."
Because of the pregame and in-game controversy swirling around the GoDaddy commercial, it has been played on TV news networks across the country as well as on a wide range of blogs and Web sites, including AdAge.com.
Industry observers point out that GoDaddy.com, a company that came out of nowhere, has succeeded, in its own way, in being to this year's Super Bowl what Janet Jackson was to last year's.