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The 2008 Super Bowl is a go! A hilarious ad gets rejected. You'll never guess why.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You just got to love the Industry press. Just this week I read an article written by Dr. Sharon Livingston in Adweek titled "Emotional Intelligence."

Say what?
Dr. Livingston wrote that Go Daddy's first two Super Bowl commercials featured Go Daddy Girl Candice Michelle "almost baring her breasts." Had Dr. Livingston actually watched the ads, she would have known that we weren't even permitted to show cleavage much less Candice "almost baring anything."

She goes on to write "the titillation in the ad (sic) was so distracting that people won't get to the message (of the ad) at all." She then wrote -- referring to both Go Daddy Ads -- "Sex doesn't always sell -- sometimes it un-sells."

The cold, hard facts.
The ads Dr. Livingston referred to aired during the 2005 and 2006 Super Bowls. The 2005 ad has been arguably described as one of the most effective television ads ever aired. That ad is now being used as a case study in college advertising textbooks to demonstrate how effective unconventional ads can be. But the real test concerning any ad's effectiveness is simply this: did it generate sales?

On the day before our 2005 Super Bowl ad aired Go Daddy's world wide market share of new domain names being registered was 16%. The following week our market share jumped to 25% and held there. So I think it's fair to say the ad was effective.

Our 2006 Super Bowl ad was widely panned by the ad critics. In fact, Adweek's Barbara Lippert -- a rather vocal critic who I respect and admire -- started her annual Super Bowl ad review by calling the Go Daddy ad "the lowest of the low." I thought it was quite an honor for Barbara to mention us first and I loved her comment. Our 2006 Super Bowl ad performed almost as well as our 2005 ad. Before the ad aired Go Daddy's worldwide market share of new domain name registrations was 25%. The following week this number catapulted to 32% and held there.

So you see, both ads not only worked, they were incredibly effective.

The problem as I see it.
People tend to believe what "industry experts" write -- particularly when the experts are analyzing an event that happened a few years ago. In this particular case, we have Dr. Livingston representing an advertising approach as ineffective when in fact the campaign was not only effective -- it was a smashing success. This in mind, I think it's fair to say the good doctor's article embodied more emotion than intelligence.

Be warned.
Be careful about what you believe. Even doctors sometimes get it wrong.

It's a go!
We finally decided to once again be a Super Bowl advertiser. Now we are very busy trying to come up with just the right creative.

Deja Vu.
FOX is broadcasting the 2008 Super Bowl and it's their Standards and Practices (S&P) group we must satisfy. On the plus side, the FOX S&P group is very quick to let us know what they think of our creative. On the downside, we've yet to send them anything they find acceptable.

A new approach.
In the past, we went ahead and actually filmed our commercials, and then submitted them to the network's S&P group -- only to have most of them rejected. This year we're taking a different approach. Instead of sending S&P already filmed commercials, we're sending storyboards showing the highlights of each proposed ad. Once we get one or two approved, then we'll go into production.

Same old, same old.
So far we've submitted several hilarious concepts only to have them rejected. I'm confident that each concept would have been approved prior to the Janet Jackson episode during the 2004 Super Bowl.

Two hilarious rejects.
One rejected concept featured two of our celebrity Go Daddy Girls, in seemingly adjacent stalls in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport restroom. Both are wearing tennis shoes with pink socks. There's a bit of toe tapping and other signals. Eventually both girls rise up over the top to acknowledge each other, only to find that in the stall between them is a rather surprised and delighted Booth Coleman, who just happens to be wearing the same tennis shoes with pink socks. I'll let you imagine the dialog from there. Booth is the older gentleman who appeared in our 2005 (the actor with oxygen mask), 2006 (the network censor) and 2007 (just a fun loving guy) commercials.

The other rejected creative was a parody of a famous scene involving Marilyn Monroe in "The Seven Year Itch." The Go Daddy Girl dressed in a white sleeveless skirt has her dress blow up in the air when she stands over what appears to be a street air grate. A closer inspection by the camera reveals a snickering Booth Coleman hidden under the grate, holding a huge fan.

FOX? In charge of good taste?
In rejecting both our "restroom" and "fan" creatives, FOX S&P gave us a reason we've not heard before. They said both concepts were in "poor taste." After reading the FOX rejection, I thought "hmmmm, in poor taste?" "Of course. What are they expecting? We're talking about a ad intended for the Super Bowl."

Until next time.
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