What type of content will get an commercial banned from the Super Bowl? As domain name registrar Go Daddy discovered, one answer apparently involves mixing an effeminate ex-football player and lingerie.Go Daddy purchased two 30-second slots for the Feb. 7 game, and submitted five ads to CBS (CBS) for approval. While four of the five got the thumbs-up, the "Lola" spot, which features a large, black ex-football player who becomes a successful online lingerie retailer, was nixed. (Check out the banned ad here.) Go Daddy has picked another spot called "Movies," featuring race car driver Danica Patrick in revealing outfits, to fill one of its commercial slots, and now must pick one of its other three to fill the second.
"CBS gave us some language that basically said, 'This ad has the potential to offend viewers,' " Go Daddy Chief Marketing Officer Barb Rechterman told DailyFinance. She added that CBS didn't specify what exactly it had pinpointed as being potentially offensive. "This one totally floored us."
So what exactly might be offensive about the ad? Go Daddy is asking consumers to check out the ad online and send the company their own thoughts. "We're cumulating [reasons] why people might think it's offensive," Rechterman says, noting that it's too early to report on responses. "It might be the lingerie, which would be interesting because Victoria's Secret is all over in advertising."
Could it be the idea of a retired football player, formerly called Larry Jones, ditching the shoulder pads in favor of a new name and a pink tracksuit? Or could it be the gay stereotypes perpetuated in the ad, as Lola prances, dresses and speaks in an effeminate way? CBS declined to disclose to DailyFinance on the reasons why its standards and practices division nixed the spot.
But just because a commercial has been banned from appearing in the Super Bowl doesn't mean the ad won't have legs. In Go Daddy's case, it hopes to use the Lola spot on other shows after the Super Bowl. After all, each Super Bowl spot costs the company about $1 million to produce, so getting a return on that investment is important, Rechterman says. And, of course, the company can now attract viewers to its Website by touting the "banned" ad.
That's a strategy that's worked for other companies and organizations, ranging from CareerBuilder.com to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. CareerBuilder.com created a potential Super Bowl ad featuring office workers lighting their farts on fire. Turned down by CBS, CareerBuilder.com now has emblazoned "Too Hot For TV" over the video on the segment of its Website asking viewers to vote on which of its ads should air during the game. And PETA got a lot of mileage out of its "Veggie Love" commercial, banned by NBC for the 2009 Super Bowl. It just goes to show that in the case of a Super Bowl ad, the only bad news is no news.
(Related: Will a Gay Dating Site's Super Bowl Ad Shame CBS?)
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