Earlier this week Professor Derek Rucker and I wrote an article for Fortune highlighting four Super Bowl spots that never should have run. GoDaddy was about to secure a second spot on that list, setting up next year’s article on five spots that never should have run.
Yesterday afternoon, however, GoDaddy pulled its ad. The company will now run a different spot on the Super Bowl. My wife suggested that instead of showing someone using GoDaddy to sell off a cute, lost puppy, the ad should show someone building a website on GoDaddy to find the lost pup. I’m not a creative type, but that seems like a pretty solid idea.
One reason to release a Super Bowl ad early is to get feedback. Developing a piece of creative is difficult and it is easy to inadvertently offend people. When I was at Kraft, for example, I worked on an ad for Miracle Whip that lasted all of six hours on television; we quickly learned that a particular ethnic group found it offensive. This was a complete surprise.
Before showing a piece of advertising to a hundred million people on the Super Bowl, it is wise to get an initial read on it.
GoDaddy deserves credit for listening and moving quickly. The CEO announced the decision yesterday afternoon on his blog, just hours after unveiling the spot. He wrote: “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.”
Watch how GoDaddy responds to this setback. I’m confident this was a snafu but it might turn into a win for the brand.