GoDaddy.com infused the grime and grit of Super Bowl XL with yet another sensual advertising spot. True to its reputation, GoDaddy.com’s sexy ad did more to promote a controversial company image than explain much of any of the company’s services. Was this a good strategy?
Regardless of the controversy it generates, which in advertising is often desired, GoDaddy’s current ad can be evaluated by surveying its value as an advertisement as well as its cultural value within American society. But the true test of the ad’s success will come when consumers are getting ready to spend their hard-earned dollars.
The most important evaluative question we can ask therefore becomes the following. When you think of internet domain registration, will you think of GoDaddy.com? (Click here to watch the ad)
A classic convertible drives up to a dusty old gas station. Standing behind the pump is not your typical grease monkey in dirty overalls. It’s the sexy GoDaddy.com brunette scantily clad in shorts and a tank top. She is posed as sexily as possible with an old-fashioned gasoline pump dripping from her fingers. The GoDaddy.com girl caresses the hood of the convertible as its parched, handsome driver negotiates his way into the gas station.
Apparently, pumping gas is not on the GoDaddy.com girl’s mind as she prepares her cleaning gear for the job at hand. To the inquisitive gaze of the convertible’s driver, this preparation includes wringing a wet sponge out all over her body. It must be very hot outside. Indeed, the GoDaddy.com girl peels her shirt off and begins to scrub the convertible in her lime green bikini top.
After scrubbing and writhing all over the convertible until its been cleaned to her satisfaction, the GoDaddy.com girl turns her attention to the driver, who also seems to be in need of a cleaning. The announcer mentions something about, “…expert personal service.”
Later, after the convertible driver leaves apparently satisfied with the expert personal service he has received, another car pulls into the gas station. Now this jalopy is dirty! The older, scruffily dressed driver lecherously giggles. His yellow lab riding in the passenger seat looks like he could use a bath, too.
Now, if you could tear your eyes away from all that scrubbing and writhing, you may have noticed the information displayed on the bottom of the screen during this commercial. The words at the bottom of the screen reinforced GoDaddy.com’s name and logo and displayed an ad for a reduced rate $1.99 .com name with any other purchase. Their contact phone number is also displayed. In case you couldn’t tear your eyes away from the GoDaddy.com girl to check out the information at the bottom of the screen during the commercial, a text only screen at the end of the ad also provide product, company and contact information.
There are a couple of key advertising issues that commercials such as the GoDaddy.com ad hope to convey. Certainly, garnering audience attention, any kind of attention good or bad, is a good thing. The controversy surrounding the overt sexual nature of the GoDaddy.com does bring attention to it, so that is a positive.
Another advertising value that good ads have is WIFFM, which stands for What’s In It For Me. The GoDaddy.com arguably fulfills this criteria in two ways. From an image standpoint, you might believe that if you buy GoDaddy.com’s product that you will somehow be associated with these very attractive, sexy people. Or, you may feel like you will be more attractive and sexy yourself. This may be a subconscious feeling. This point may be arguable, however, because the same images that may be attractive and sexy to some people may be offensive to others.
The other WIFFM criteria shown in the ad is the price break that is advertised throughout the entire ad. $1.99 is cheap for anything these days, and this is the amount advertised at the bottom of the screen. So, if you are interested in domain name registration, you might very well think that there’s something good for you about a $1.99 priced product.
The “call to action” is a key advertising criteria that is meant to push the consumer into doing or buying something. The final screen of this ad is quite obviously the call to action for the consumer to go to GoDaddy.com to check out their services. In addition, the company really has a brilliant name. Just by saying or displaying the company’s name in the commercial, they are giving that call to action, i.e., to GoDaddy, literally.
The controversy surrounding the GoDaddy.com commercials, whether or not it is good for advertising, can not be ignored. There has been much criticism about the nature of the content that is shown during the Super Bowl because so many young boys watch it.
The content of the GoDaddy.com commercial is overtly sexual, so that is a negative from this standpoint. However, beyond that standpoint I have to question whether or not the GoDaddy.com girl is objectified and put in a negative light.
First of all, she is a brunette. This breaks with the typical American “blonds have more fun” stereotype. Could this be an attempt by the advertisers to soften image? Also, the males in the commercial do not seem to have power or higher status over her. There is no boss visible at the gas station. Although the first male is a stereotypical young, attractive male, the second gentleman to pull into the station is a hilarious stereotype, that is, if anything, poking fun at men.
The ability of the commercial to poke fun at itself gives the woman in the commercial power and makes her less of a stereotype. These are positive cultural values. So, although you can’t dismiss the overtly sexual nature of the commercial that may arguably be inappropriate for a Super Bowl audience of young boys, for a different audience, the subtleties and humor that are used may give this commercial an overall positive cultural value in terms its treatment of men and women.
Will You GoDaddy.com?
We’ve taken a look at the advertising value of the GoDaddy.com commercial and dissected some of the cultural values inherent in it. However, the most important way to evaluate this commercial comes down to what consumers will do when they are ready to register their domain name. Will they think of GoDaddy.com? Will the controversial nature of the commercial turn them off from using the company? Or will it attract them?
A visit to GoDaddy.com’s web site shows that they are alive and well, so enough people must be answering the question “Will you GoDaddy.com?” with a resounding “Yes!” So, if GoDaddy.com’s sexy ad did more to promote a controversial company image than explain much of any of the company’s services, why was it so successful? Well, we’ve discussed some of the positives from an advertising and cultural standpoint above. Also, the company and price break information was, in fact, visible during the entire ad, if you could tear your eyes away from the imagery long enough to read it. Also, the company’s product, domain name registration, is very simple. Perhaps it doesn’t need all that much explanation.
Personally, I registered my domain name through GoDaddy.com last year. And, for what it’s worth, I’m a woman. I wasn’t offended nor did I believe that I was going to magically be like the attractive people on the commercial. I just wanted a good price on a domain name registration.
What was weird was my impulse buy of the lime green bikini. No, I’m kidding about the lime green bikini.