Boob Job: Do GoDaddy’s Super Bowl ads hurt or help?

Above, the latest Super Bowl ad from domain name registrar GoDaddy.com.

In a phony courtroom, women are accused of being “enhanced”, a charge each denies with increasing vehemence, until real-life racing driver Danica Patrick, a long-time spokesperson for domain name registrar Go Daddy, proudly asserts that she’s “enhanced my image with a domain name and a website from GoDaddy.com”. Another accused woman balks at Patrick’s use of the term “enhanced,” then begins to rip open her shirt to “show you enhanced”. Before her fake breasts are exposed, the commercial cuts to black, enticing viewers to see the “unrated” content at GoDaddy.com.

It was, according to data from TiVo, the most rewatched ad of the Super Bowl. But it’s also provoking an unwanted response from several customers online, who are ready to ditch GoDaddy for other registrars.

Scott Hepburn wrote, “My site is hosted with GoDaddy. The ad was something I’d expect from a teenage boy, and has shaped my view of their service.” Jon Garfunkel started a campaign called “Service Over Supermodels“, asking women people to cover their bare chests with a sign requesting GoDaddy improve their service. (Garfunkel is, so far, the only one who has accepted his offer.) A competiting registrar, NameCheap.com, posted a sidebar ad campaign asking customers to “Make the Super Bowl Switch” to a service with “no obtrusive, offensive, or biased ads.” Network Solutions, another registrar (and one I find equally jerky, historically), found that mentions of their company on Twitter have gone up ten-fold.

Former Lifehacker editor Gina Trapani is getting ready to move her domains, so I asked her why. Gina said the ads “made me feel like I register my web site domains at a Hooters. Nothing against Hooters, but that’s just not the image I want to portray when someone whois’s my sites. (Sorry, Danica.)”

Not everyone is upset about the ads. In fact, many are surprised that GoDaddy customers are just now paying attention to the company’s advertising strategy, which has in fact for years involved lots of T&A, especially in their Super Bowl ads.

“Surprised by the GoDaddy backlash,” writes Brian Carter, a stand-up comedian and self-proclaimed “Google AdWords genius”, “did you guys JUST realize their whole marketing strategy was hot chicks?”

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34 Responses to Boob Job: Do GoDaddy’s Super Bowl ads hurt or help?

  1. Anonymous says:

    We’re sorry, currently our video library can only e streamed within the United States.

  2. dainel says:

    There ain’t no such thing as bad publicity.

    And I agree, boingboing should stop posting links to hulu. Blocking non-US IP is stupid.

  3. Blue says:

    Friends don’t let friends embed HULU hosted video.

  4. Dewi Morgan says:

    Yeah: I’ve been with three registrars, five hosting companies. So far, for shared hosting, they’re the only ones with whom I don’t (yet!) have a very annoyed war-story about incompetence and slow responses to support. Not that I need their support often, because their systems are set up right and have cool automated ways for me to do stuff without needing to bother support. It’s positively refreshing. But I’m sure the other shoe will drop any minute and they’ll do something incredibly sucky, though. I doubt they’ll scale well if the superbowl ad gets them a lot of new custom, and then they’ll go to pot.

    But yeah, I completely wouldn’t have guessed it, given their ads. Maybe that’s part of the trick, though, I was expecting very little so was more pleased with what I got.

  5. sgj says:

    “We’re sorry, currently our video library can only be streamed within the United States.”

    Bad move, America! If I can’t watch your advertisements, how will I know to buy your products!? ;)

    Seriously though, why is anyone advocating the use of a DRM-riddled service like Hulu? If we were talking about region encoding on DVDs, there’d be people complaining about how dumb it is, but region-limited online video is just fine?

  6. dwes says:

    Quick: Name me 3 domain name registrars!

    Ummmm… GoDaddy.com, errrrrr.. ummmmm… ehhhhh… You sure there’s more than one?

    (Obviously, the ads work.)

  7. Ryan Waddell says:

    I found out about GoDaddy with their first Superbowl ad. I switched over because their prices were awesome, and I was looking for a new registrar. I stayed with them because I’ve never had a single problem with them. But really, anybody who’s been to the GoDaddy web site and somehow managed to miss all the hot chicks everywhere? Come on, how blind ARE you? You have to scour the terrible site design to figure out how to do anything in the first place, it’s inevitable that you’re going to come across some boobage at some point. :)

  8. Hanglyman says:

    People still watch ads?

  9. therevengor says:

    @#3 – You’re so right! Hulu should give you your money back?

    Oh, what?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Please stop linking to Hulu. US-only internet sites are a shitty trend.

  11. zuzu says:

    Geolocation breaking the Internet needs its own PR campaign, like with Net Neutrality.

    But there are many forces at work trying to “civilize” the electronic frontier.
    (cue the Firefly Battle of Serenity Valley)

  12. HornCologne says:

    I’d like to point out once again, that Hulu’s crap-azz IP address region blocking suxxors axxors and goes against not only much of what BoingBoing allegedly stands for, it also blocks out at least two of the actual contributor team.

    Please stop posting Hulu videos until they open up theor bits to foreigners!

    – HC

    /rant_over

  13. vetnoir says:

    The thing I find interesting is how all of this came to be. GoDaddy’s ads weren’t all that sexy and then they made one to make fun of the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” and the congressional hearings that followed the year before.*
    When that ad got pulled after one showing by a overly nervous network, and the ensuing publicity around it, they decided to start pushing the envelope.
    I have several domains with GD and switched to them because A) network solutions licks the sweat off a donkey’s balls, and B) Because they are a great company with fantastic service.
    Plus I think it’s funny when some uptight puritan complains they are offended and the person they say it to goes, “well if you think THAT was offensive try THIS!”

    *(seriously congressional hearings about a tit on tv for 3 seconds? That is just BEGGING to be made fun of.)

  14. zuzu says:

    @4 therevengor

    http://foxyproxy.mozdev.org/

    FoxyProxy is a free, open-source advanced proxy management tool that completely replaces Firefox’s limited proxying capabilities. FoxyProxy automatically switches an internet connection across one or more proxy servers based on URL patterns. Put simply, FoxyProxy automates the manual process of editing Firefox’s Connection Settings dialog. Proxy server switching occurs based on the loading URL and the switching rules you define. Animated icons show you when a proxy is in use. Advanced logging shows you which proxies were used and when. QuickAdd makes it a snap to create new URL patterns on-the-fly. FoxyProxy is fully compatible with Portable Firefox, has better support for PAC files than Firefox itself, and is translated into more than 25 languages.

  15. CraziestGadgetsdotcom says:

    i find it funny that while memorable, considering that they are a domain registrar, godaddy’s domain name isn’t all that great or relevant like their competitor’s domain names. that said, i’m just registered with them for the B()()BS.

  16. Robert Anderson says:

    Tits (boob is allowed on TV) have always caused a lot of upraor in societies that “cover” the nipple. Especially among sagging, ugly-nippled old women.

    Get over yourselves!!!

  17. meerkat says:

    Agree with #7 – their name doesn’t make a lot of sense to me…

    That said, I have about 10 domain names & assorted hosting plans because they are dirt cheap and I have had some great customer service interactions with them. I personally find their commercials silly but harmless – an exercise in the art of stretching ad dollars…

  18. icky2000 says:

    Anyone who uses GoDaddy and has just noticed this must be blind. I see boobs every time I go to their website (at work we use their dirt cheap SSL certs for our labs, not for production). How could you not have noticed that? Even if boobs weren’t on the main page, surely you’d have noticed that the site usually looks like the average 13 year old’s Myspace.

  19. Enochrewt says:

    I wouldn’t have a problem with the ads if they were actually entertaining, but they weren’t. Not even in a giggly-teenage-boy kind of way.

    The Doritos Crystal ball commercial trumped all anyway.

  20. bokodasu says:

    I thought the commercials were stupid, but not enough to switch – I don’t think anyone looks up my domain registrar to make a value judgement on my worthiness as a human being. I use godaddy because they’re cheap, probably the same reason everyone else who uses them does. (There IS a line they could have crossed that would have had me switching; this didn’t hit it, though.)

    And no, I hadn’t previously noticed that their ad strategy revolves around boobs. I use AdBlock and don’t have cable. I found them in the first place on the recommendation of a friend.

  21. Sean Eric FAgan says:

    Not related to GoDaddy, but I can’t get over the fact that these commercials… have ads before them.

  22. bbonyx says:

    Regardless of your position on the appropriateness of sexism in advertising and the light GoDaddy casts themselves in for supporting it… I will say this:
    Anyone slighting GoDaddy on the grounds of customer service needs to step off (from my experience).
    I’ve dealt with them many times for support over the course of the last 4-5 years re: hosting my two domains. Not problems with GoDaddy usually, mostly while trying to get domains moved *to* them and the problem was with the old registrar.

    The people who handled my issues knew their stuff top to bottom and took care of my problems so quickly that I was amazed. It’s always frustrating when you know what the problem is and then call in to find that you know more than the techs. I’ve never had that experience with GoDaddy. In fact, I’ve never had any bad experience with them.

    So they can post lame ads. Their prices are great and I know my business sites are in good hands.

  23. Ceronomus says:

    Sex sells, who would’ve thought.

    That said, not great commercials.

  24. airship says:

    There’s more sex and boobage in any random minute of television programming than there was during that one-minute GoDaddy commercial. If you don’t want to see gratuitous sex and violence, don’t watch TV.

  25. mgfarrelly says:

    The majority of the ads I saw on Hulu featured either childish violence, sexism (if not misogyny) and did little to interest me in buying any of the wares advertised.

    But then…

    Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.

    -H. L. Mencken

  26. Anonymous says:

    ads don’t work if you can’t see em. guess they only want US dolalrs… not a very good business strategy.

  27. Anonymous says:

    http://nodaddy.com has a lot more good reasons to not use GoDaddy

  28. Halloween Jack says:

    I don’t follow racing that closely, but I’d always gotten the impression that Danica Patrick got credit for being something of a pioneer in racing. I guess that now she’s a pioneer in being racy.

  29. hobomike says:

    why are we so full of boobrage? It’s the source of life!

  30. MyFreeImplants says:

    We’re actually quite proud to be using GoDaddy as our registrar! I guess that’s not really saying much however, seeing as we are in the Free Breast Implants “industry”

  31. JonGarfunkel says:

    You wrote: “Jon Garfunkel started a campaign called ‘Service Over Supermodels’, asking women to cover their bare chests with a sign requesting GoDaddy improve their service.”

    Close, but no cigar. Nowhere did I suggest only women. I asked *anyone* to be a “topless model.” If a bunch of hairy-chested guys do this, so be it. I started this campaign last week, in anticipation of the commercials. If you can, please correct your post.

    Thanks,

    Jon

  32. artbot says:

    #3 – I’m not clear exactly on how a streaming movie can contain DRM. Do you mean because you can’t download it and endlessly copy it? If so, you should join us back here in the real world.

    And I felt embarrassed that I host my sites with godaddy after these lame ads. Purile and funny would at least have been a little more tolerable, but purile and lame beyond belief – just embarrassing.

    The only reason I keep them there is price and awesome customer service on the few times I needed it. Why don’t they advertise that?

  33. Senna1 says:

    @#23 Danica’s credit

    no, she wishes she had and used to cry about people seeing her as just an object and to judge her on driving skill. i suppose she’s realized that we have judged her on driving skill and given her just the credit she deserves… terrible terrible racer.

  34. hohum says:

    I’ve used GoDaddy before because they’re cheap as hell, and this ad won’t convince me to take my business elsewhere… But I am pretty surprised that people are making such a big deal over it…

    I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be making a big deal over it, it just surprises me because I didn’t think the ad was really that memorable in any way. When I saw it, I thought ‘isn’t today supposed to be the day that the good ads come out?’

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