Super Bowl Ads: Still Looking For The Edge, On Purpose

Thank social media for providing potential Super Bowl advertisers with preliminary audience testing. GoDaddy’s edgy spot “Lost Dog” just got the axe because of this.

Satirizing a Budweiser-like commercial where a dog got lost from his owner and found his way back home, in the GoDaddy spot the owner had created a site, care of GoDaddy, to sell puppies. For many, the joke wasn’t funny, bringing up negative puppy mill associations. But don’t worry. GoDaddy still has secured media time it bought from NBC to run another Super Bowl commercial.

Seems like anything goes -- almost. That’s because marketers are still looking to make their mark, looking for responses like: “Did you see that commercial? Can you believe that?”

Would GoDaddy purposely produce a spot to check out viewer responses? GoDaddy wouldn’t do this as a publicity stunt. Would they?

Blake Irving, chief executive officer of GoDaddy, wrote in a blog post: "People increasingly know who we are, what we do and who we do it for. At the end of the day, our purpose at GoDaddy is to help small businesses around the world build a successful online presence. We hoped our ad would increase awareness of that cause.”

He added: “However, we underestimated the emotional response. And we heard that loud and clear. The net is we are pulling the ad from the Super Bowl. You’ll still see us in the Big Game this year, and we hope it makes you laugh.”

Yes, it’s about “awareness” for Super Bowl advertisers. But GoDaddy isn’t new to this business, to Super Bowl advertising, or outlandish TV commercials.  Maybe it needs another, still out-of-the box angle, with perhaps a bit less emotional spin.

To be sure, many TV marketers have seen their Super Bowl commercials rejected in the past. But this year gambling-related, “advocacy” messages, and other efforts have been given the kibosh.

Social media can make it easier on TV networks, taking the decision-making out of their hands. In other words -- if you are a Super Bowl marketer -- continue to head to the edge.

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