The flamboyant Internet entrepreneur fired off a blog entry yesterday complaining that the NFL will have veto power over GoDaddy's 30-second Super Bowl spot. But the NFL says it won't view the ad until it runs during the game.
Parsons, who uses bobparsons.com to provide updates on GoDaddy's pursuit of Super Bowl ad time, wrote that GoDaddy "received an indication Friday that the NFL will review any commercial GoDaddy submits that ABC approves. To the best of my knowledge the NFL has never participated in the commercial approval process."
An NFL spokesman said the NFL will have no prior review of any GoDaddy spot. Content clearance is an issue solely between GoDaddy and ABC, he said. (The NFL only reviews ads by official league sponsors such as Pepsi and Burger King to ensure that NFL logos and imagery are used properly; the league also prohibits ads for gambling ventures during broadcasts.)
So far, ABC has rejected 10 versions of GoDaddy's ad, Parsons said. But both the network and the Web site say they hope to reach an agreement by the game's Feb. 5 kickoff. "We are continuing to talk with GoDaddy and are optimistic," said Ed Erhardt, President-Customer Marketing and Sales, ESPN/ABC Sports.
GoDaddy's ads feature women in provocative situations. Last year, its Super Bowl ad featured a woman twisting seductively before Congress. Fox yanked a planned second airing of the spot, a publicity boon for GoDaddy likely worth much more than the cost of the ad time.
This year, the Internet domain site is clearly seeking to replicate its 2005 PR bonanza. Parsons' strategy seems to be to portray his company as an underdog fighting for free speech against the staid and stern ABC Standards & Practices Group and the NFL.
Regarding ABC: "These are the guys that do 'Desperate Housewives'...these guys are no white knights," Parsons said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
On the NFL, Parsons blogged that it is "a no nonsense organization where its members can be fined for openly criticizing NFL officials. This being the case, it's entirely possible that the NFL's request to review our commercial could be to punish us, in true NFL style, for the commercial we ran during last year's Super Bowl."
Toward the end of yesterday's blog entry, Parsons wrote: "make no mistake, we really want to get a commercial approved." The longer it takes, the better?