Apparently, the GoDaddy ad spot from yesterday’s SuperBowl was supposed to run twice, not just once during the first quarter. For those who didn’t see the game, in the spot a young brunette testifies in front of a fake committee wearing a tight white tank-top and manifesting serious cleavage. Predictably, one of the shoulder straps breaks, and she dances a bit. Various old folks look upset, and one old guy is huffing oxygen, apparently overcome by the woman’s dancing. To be clear, at no time is there a "wardrobe malfunction" other than the strap breaking, and no actual obscenity occurs. But apparently somebody didn’t like the ad and killed the second spot.
The CEO of GoDaddy blogged today on why the ad didn’t appear twice. It seems that the NFL asked Fox not to air the ad a second time, and Fox complied. One imagines that GoDaddy will get its second 2.4 million bucks back, but more interesting is the blogospheric reaction. Some have been quick to call this censorship, others are wondering about breach of contract.
It’s not censorship. The relationship between GoDaddy.com and Fox is a private business relationship, undoubtedly with a standard written contract. Without seeing the contract, it’s difficult to know if Fox breached, but one imagines it’s likely that Fox retains the right to not air material at its choice, and would then simply be liable for a refund or credits for future ads. Frankly, there’s nothing interesting here from a legal point of view.
I do find it fascinating, however, that Fox and the NFL were sufficiently freaked out about public opinion and the general cultural climate in our country that an ad that involves a fully clothed woman dancing was considered problematic.
Especially since, if one watches any of a half-dozen other Fox shows (e.g., Totally Outrageous Behavior, the O.C., American Idol, and virtually every one of Fox’s exploitative reality shows), you’d see a heck of a lot more than was displayed in the GoDaddy SuperBowl ad. Let’s face it, Fox isn’t exactly known for family entertainment and wholesomeness. So I find it both hilarious and kind of creepy that Fox moved that quickly to ensure that our delicate minds weren’t re-exposed to GoDaddy during the final minutes of the game.