Go Daddy Wrangling with ABC Censors Over 2006 Super Bowl Ad

Go Daddy would like to advertise in the upcoming Super Bowl game, but has not been able to get any of its ads approved, according to CEO Bob Parsons. The domain registrar's controversial ad in the 2005 Super Bowl generated enormous media coverage and web traffic, and kicked off a year of huge growth for the company.

"We still don’t know if we are going to advertise in next year’s Super Bowl," Parsons wrote in his weblog. "We’ve been busy working to get an ad approved by the censors at ABC and really haven’t had any luck." ABC is broadcasting this year's game, which is being held Feb. 5 in Detroit. A 30-second advertisement is expected to cost $2.4 million, the same as for last year's game, which was aired by Fox.

Go Daddy's investment in 2005 Super Bowl ads was part of a larger media campaign to extend its brand awareness beyond the web hosting community. The company's decision to focus on the Super Bowl was initially questioned by some, given the historic connection between Super Bowl ads and dot-com excess. Go Daddy's ad featured busty model Candice Michelle and gained huge attention when NFL executives pressured Fox to cancel a scheduled second showing. Minutes after the game's conclusion, Parsons used his personal weblog to break the news of the ad's cancellation, and the buzz quickly spread across the web and into the mainstream media.

Parsons didn't offer details of the ads that have been submitted for the 2006 game, or any reservations ABC may have about them. But he says he's used to a variety of reactions from Go Daddy's ads. "In my opinion, in order for a television commercial to be effective, it has to be polarizing," Parsons wrote, noting that a USA Today poll ranked Go Daddy's 2005 ad among both the most liked and most disliked commercials. "That’s about as polarizing as it gets! We did get many complaints from customers, and would-be customers, about our Super Bowl ad. However, that didn’t keep people from moving their business to Go Daddy in droves, and hardly anyone moved away."