Go Daddy ad cut from second Bowl airing

Web registrar claims Fox pulled its ad halfway through Sunday's game based on decency issues. Image: Go Daddy's Super Bowl ad

Matt Hines Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Matt Hines
covers business software, with a particular focus on enterprise applications.
Matt Hines
2 min read
Twice was not the charm for Go Daddy Software, which claims that Fox pulled a second airing of an advertisement previously approved for viewers during Sunday's broadcast of the Super Bowl.

In a message posted to his company blog, Go Daddy President Bob Parsons complained that Fox shelved a second-half airing of its ad, which spoofed Janet Jackson's notorious "wardrobe malfunction" during last year's Super Bowl halftime show.

A shortened version of the ad was shown in full during the first half of Sunday's contest, after a longer version of the commercial was originally rejected by the network, according to Parsons.

Fox did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment on the incident.

"As you may have noticed, our Super Bowl ad only appeared during the scheduled first-quarter spot," Parsons wrote. "It was scheduled to run also in the second ad position during the final two-minute warning. Our ad never ran a second time. Instead, in its place, we saw an advertisement promoting, of all things, "The Simpsons."

The executive said Go Daddy, an Internet domain registrar, immediately contacted Fox to find out what had transpired and was informed that the National Football League was upset with the content of the spot, which featured a scantily clad model struggling to keep her top on while testifying before "broadcast censorship hearings."

Go Daddy was told that the NFL and Fox had decided to pull the ad from running a second time.

Apparently, not all Fox viewers found the Go Daddy campaign offensive, as the spot ranked fourth in a poll the network conducted to measure popularity of its Super Bowl advertisements.

As of late Tuesday, the Go Daddy ad was picked as the most entertaining spot by some 18 percent of the 300,000 voters participating in the poll.

Viewers reacted to the Jackson performance with a seemingly similar mix of emotions. While many decried the performance's lewdness, the incident finished as one of last year's most hotly sought-after Web search queries and broke records as the most recorded video clip ever for owners of TiVo video recorders.

The Janet Jackson incident, and other controversies involving on-air profanity, sparked a national debate over how accountable television and radio broadcasts should be and whether the government should use a heavier hand in regulating broadcasts.

In addition to pulling the advertisement, Go Daddy said Fox also cancelled a previously scheduled sponsorship announcement paid for by the registrar.

Individuals posting replies to Parsons' blog about the advertising debacle took both sides of the decency debate. While most applauded the company's gusto for running such a racy spot, some posters said the campaign did not reflect well on the company.

"I'm sure I would have loved the ad back when I was in high school," said one response. "Now I just wish I'd seen it before I transferred my four domain names to Go Daddy. If the desire is publicity at any cost, I'm sure the ad will be a huge success."