It's the first time in eight consecutive Super Bowls that the
Scottsdale, Ariz., provider of web hosting and domain names has not
gotten its initial scripts turned down by the network hosting the
game, said Barb Rechterman, CMO at GoDaddy.
Ms. Rechterman vowed the company's coming ads "are hot," but
that the company has learned what networks will and won't accept.
"We're starting to get a little more aware of what they're looking
for and what will pass and what won't pass," Ms. Rechterman
That's partly because GoDaddy has become a broader TV advertiser
and more familiar with network standards, according to Ms.
Rechterman. "In earlier years, we weren't buying a lot of
television at that point," she said. "We were buying the Super
Bowl." Now the company understands that certain dialogue or flashes
of skin can trigger network honchos' greatest fears.
GoDaddy has regularly tried to use its ads' rejections to get
extra attention, of course, joining a large group of would-be Super
Bowl advertisers that try to make the most of a "no" from networks.
Some aren't really serious about running a commercial in the Super
Bowl to begin with. GoDaddy always actually airs ads in the game --
but often concludes by pointing viewers to "unrated" versions
This year's early approval, however, suggests GoDaddy may be
shifting away from relying on controversy for publicity.
Don't tell Ms. Rechterman that GoDaddy's ads will lack any of
their usual bite. "We know how to take it right to the very edge of
'GoDaddyesque,'" she said. "We do get it up right to that point and
GoDaddy's commercial stance has not moved in sync with the
general tone of the Super Bowl. After the 2004 game included Janet
Jackson's wardrobe malfunction and a Budweiser ad starring a
flatulent horse, marketers and networks became increasingly careful
to avoid offense and to serve the biggest possible audience.
Exceptions, such as the 2007 Snickers commercial showing two male
auto mechanics inadvertently kissing and then worrying about their
manliness, typically meet swift disapproval and get pulled from
GoDaddy debuted in the 2005 Super Bowl with a spot featuring
GoDaddy spokeswoman "Nikki Capelli" popping a tank-top strap while
testifying in Congress. The ad was supposed to run twice during the
game, but Fox pulled the scheduled repeat after the NFL quickly
complained. Since then GoDaddy has regularly tripped alarms at all
the networks. In 2008, Fox rejected a GoDaddy spot that used
"beaver" as a double entendre. NBC rejected a few early GoDaddy ad
concepts in 2009, the last time NBC had the big game.
GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons has blogged about the ads and their
rejections. To explain the "beaver" brouhaha, Mr. Parsons wrote: "In refusing
the ad, Fox informed us that if we referred to the furry, damn
building [sic] rodents or beavers by something other than
'beavers,' the ad would be approved. I felt if I made that change
the ad wouldn't be quite the same."
GoDaddy has gotten fewer rejections in recent years, Ms.
Rechterman said. After its strap-busting debut commercial on Fox,
GoDaddy saw ABC scrap 13 potential Super Bowl executions, she said.
It only got three rejections in before the 2010 Super Bowl and then
only one before the 2011 game.
Despite getting script approvals for its 2012 Super Bowl ads,
GoDaddy isn't home-free yet. NBC could turn down a spot if the
filmed version includes elements that don't jibe with its standards
and practices policies.