Advertising on the Super Bowl? Count Us In

A GoDaddy-esque commercial in the Super Bowl is tradition — at least four years’ worth, in any case.

Viewers have come to expect a fun, edgy, slightly inappropriate commercial from us.

All these years, it’s been a business home run, too. Our market share has soared, each and every year.

Traffic to our Web site is off the charts, each and every year. And it all translates to the bottom line. Isn’t that what advertising is supposed to do?

Some have suggested this year might be different.

Is the unprecedented price tag worth it? Should GoDaddy pull back like many other advertisers have done?

Absolutely not. I believe this is exactly the time to advertise. Let the other guys drop out, tone it down and fade away.

Super Bowl spots are priced at historic highs, even as the economy sputters and unemployment numbers climb. One writer suggested advertisers might be toning down their ads this year, in light of our weak economy.

That’s not our plan.

Isn’t the whole idea to get noticed? More than 90 million people will be watching. That’s about half the households in the country.

Our philosophy is really pretty simple: Create a commercial that will get people’s attention, invite them to visit our Web site and back the buzz up with the lowest priced products and industry-best customer support on the Internet. The rest takes care of itself.

This year, like most recent years, we produced two Super Bowl ads. Both feature GoDaddy Girl and auto racing superstar Danica Patrick.

In one spot, called “Shower,” Danica takes a shower with another woman.

The other is called “Baseball.” It spoofs the steroids scandal in true GoDaddy-esque style, with Danica providing the twist on an “enhancement hearing.”

Instead of squeaking one ad by censors at the last minute, the unimaginable happened: Both GoDaddy-esque ads were approved early. Now, we need to make a choice.

Whichever one airs, we know it will stand out. Not every one will like the commercial. Some might even despise it, like renowned advertising critic Barbara Lippert of Adweek. She watched our “Baseball” ad and without the slightest bit of hesitation said, “This is lower than the usual GoDaddy low-it’s pathetic.”

The producers at Fox & Friends refused to air “Baseball” because they said it was “too racy for morning television.”

Believe it or not, I consider this feedback an honor. It means I’ve done my job. Because, love our ads or hate them, many viewers will remember them. Millions will even be curious enough to visit our site.

The real dilemma now is deciding which one to broadcast. So instead of me picking the ad, I’m inviting the public to help by voting for their favorite online. Both ads will invite viewers to see the ‘rest of the story’ at GoDaddy.com. That’s where the real Super Bowl advertising magic happens.

Consider this: Prior to our 2005 Super Bowl commercial, we had a 16 percent market share. After the ad, it jumped to 25 percent, and held. The next year, our ad boosted Go Daddy to 32 percent market share. The trend continued in 2007 when our Super Bowl commercial helped lift GoDaddy’s market share to 42 percent. Last year, we got to 46 percent, and that has held, too. Right now, we are more than three times the size of our closest competitor.

I’d be crazy not to advertise. The economy has definitely changed. GoDaddy’s approach won’t.

Bob Parsons founded GoDaddy in 1997 and remains its chief executive.

Opposing view on Super Bowl advertising by Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys

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