Hey, Go Daddy: Your Strategy is Showing

Another Super Bowl, another press release from GoDaddy.com about how its "controversial" and "racy" commercial failed to make the grade among network censors. This year, the press release came more than a full week before the game, with the exhortation that: "We really thought we'd make it this time."

Uh-huh. I don't believe it for a second.

For as long as GoDaddy.com has been advertising on the Super Bowl (five or six years, I really don't want to give them), they've followed the same scenario: talk about how you're going to advertise on the game, complain about how the ad you "really" want to run was banned and then encourage people to go view it online. For the first few years, it worked.

But now it's getting old. This year, I didn't even bother to go watch GoDaddy's spot (a bit out of protest, but mostly out of disinterest). And I don't think many others will either. As a tactic, it's getting old. And everyone else is catching on.

On Monday, Kgb.com, a service that answers your most inane or strange questions via text, sent me an e-mail. "Thought you might be interested in one of our ads that was banned," wrote the company. I didn't look at that one either. And anyone with even a passing interest in marketing has been treated to an online version of an ad promoting a same-sex dating site, allegedly bounced for being too controversial. (I'm not going to offer up links to any of these commercials. If you want to see them, go find them; that's what these companies want anyway.)



I don't know that I can truly fault Kgb or Mancrunch for trying this tactic. Neither of them are well-known brands yet, and they're doing all they can to drum up attention when our minds are scattered among so many other things. But I hope they're aware of the strategy's diminishing returns.

Last summer, I was in the market for a Web site. Nothing fancy, just a simple Internet destination with some pictures, text and maybe a dedicated e-mail address. During my shopping for a Web hosting company, GoDaddy didn't make my consideration set. I knew who they were and had a vague idea of what they did. But after years of being "edgy" and "controversial" during the Super Bowl, they still hadn't given me a compelling reason to reward them with my business.

Because for all the noise that a controversial ad created for the Super Bowl can generate, the rules still remain the same: consumers need a reason to want your product. Be better than the competition, be cheaper, be simpler. Be something other than the white noise we're trying to ignore every day (including Super Bowl Sunday).

Controversy isn't a strategy; it's an attention-grabber, and it only works to a point. But once that point has been reached, it's time to abandon that strategy for one that actually makes a case for your product and your brand.

I'm looking at you, GoDaddy.com. But I'm still not looking at your commercial.

4 comments about "Hey, Go Daddy: Your Strategy is Showing ".
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  1. Steve Lundin from bigfrontier, February 3, 2010 at 12:55 a.m.


    I'm with you on this one - I thought the "banned in Boston: tactic went out the door when they cleaned up Times Square. I guess it's new to this generation. By this point GoDaddy should have reached the "bloopers and outtakes" stage in their marketing plan. Maybe they'll start sponsoring Girls Gone Wild at the Internet Cafe. Who knows what those clever devils will get up to next!

  2. Chris Vinson from Vinson Advertising, February 3, 2010 at 6:08 a.m.

    I agree with Aaron that this tactic is new to this generation and it's utter corn if you've been exposed to it a few times and realize you're being suckered. However, young folks are a huge percentage of what they target. Their prices are very competitive and according to the gentleman I spoke with there last week, they have over 2000 employees. So they've done pretty well overall.

  3. Josh Grossman from Springpad, February 3, 2010 at 3:01 p.m.

    From a marketing perspective I give GoDaddy credit for becoming the only domain name registration service that most people can name. Even the idea of getting their commercials banned "on purpose" was smart. But, as you point out, the campaign is getting old. I'd rather if one of the GoDaddy girls explained more about what they do since they actually offer a lot of services that most people don't know about.

  4. Jerry Foster from Energraphics, February 4, 2010 at 3:19 a.m.

    I'll agree with the main point of this article and go further to say that a young techie male is going to choose a service based on the fine points of technical excellence in the service they provide (do they allow email relaying for instance - or do they steal domain names that are searched for but not bought immediately). I do remember being a young male at the dawn of the Internet age (1994) when all the single men at a company would go to the server room to view the pink elephant website (in 1994 the web was only available in a company server room as desktop browsers were not distributed then). Back then there were no corporate policies (or corporate common sense) banning such viewing because it was all so new.

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