Companies are spending more than ever in 2017 for advertising during the NFL season. According to iSpot.tv, $4.15 billion was spent, up from the $4.08 billion spent last year. With the season coming to an exciting finale yesterday, drawing almost attention as the game itself is of course those coveted ad placements during the broadcast. For a thorough round-up of this year’s Super Bowl commercials, we use (and recommend) Ad Week’s Ad Tracker that you can find here, but we thought we’d also take a look at one advertiser specifically, and see what we can learn from both their fall from favor and their success’ since. Firstly, the back story....
The Great GoDaddy Puppy Fiasco of 2015
Just in case you missed it, 2015 wasn’t great for URL and online hosting company GoDaddy. They have been making sexy, risqué and controversial TV spots for over 10 years (you may recall both their ads featuring a scantily dressed WWE female wrestler or in 2013 when the luckiest computer geek in the world was kissed by model Bar Refaeli), but It was when they decided to make fun of the iconic Budweiser commercials that they received an overwhelming amount of negative press. The ad, quickly pulled by the company after the haters did their hating, featured an adorable Golden Labrador puppy falling off the back of a truck. Animal lovers the world over attacked GoDaddy for promoting animal cruelty and puppy mills. The company were notably absent from the 2016 Super Bowl ad line-up, taking a break to regroup no doubt.
This year they’re back to introduce a new product with a new 30-second spot that we think has brought them back to form. Gone are the dogs, bring in the cats, of the Rumba riding variety. It’s still wacky, touches on controversy and is humorous, but gone are all those somewhat tired sexual innuendos. GoDaddy has….(gasp) grown up! The new series of ads is kicking off a year long Brand-focused campaign that manages to feel both familiar and completely fresh. Kudos to the guys at New York based agency Bullish. Watch it here. Like all train-wrecks in marketing, there are some valuable lessons to learn and to apply to your next Corporate Video, Branded Video or Online Video campaign. Let’s take a look at our favorite three:
1. Naughty Can Be MORE Valuable Than Nice
Before the 2015 ad, GoDaddy’s risqué approach was working for them, their engagement increasing dramatically with the release of each of their titillating commercials. Sure they got some flack from people who believed they were exploiting women, but this controversy also attracted much attention. The key is to find the balance between making your audience giggle and making them gag, between being a little cheeky and being downright offensive. This is where hiring an experienced production team is so integral to this creating this kind of campaign. At Front Runner we find the humor in a bold approach, creating a balance for the viewer that makes somewhat shocking content easier to digest.
2. Listen To Your Audience
Listen to your audience….and RESPOND in real time. GoDaddy pulled their controversial ads as soon as it became obvious that the majority of viewers found it distasteful. This is smart as it admits blame and takes responsibility for it, similar in effect to an in-person apology to a friend or colleague. GoDaddy showed their customers how much they value their opinion. As more and more of our marketing and advertising efforts move to online platforms, content is more immediate and should in turn be even more responsive to criticism. Don’t hold onto an idea or approach beyond its lifespan, whether that's months or mere minutes. Don’t lose track of your initial campaign goal; to reach and connect with your audience.
3. Be Brave. Remain Innovative
In the face of defeat, GoDaddy could have bounced back with yet another buxom lady ad this year, instead they took a year off, regrouped and came up with a new agency and direction. This was a smart move as like every element of your brand and business, your approach should always be growing and evolving. The key here is to maintain an overarching sense of you brand, a through-line story that links your outreach efforts into an easily recognizable ‘family’ of marketing tools, across platforms. It’s invaluable to remain flexible in your approach, to keep your content fresh and new so as to continue to capture your audience’s attention. Instead of retelling your old story, how can you explore a new way to tell it?
As you can probably tell, here at Front Runner Films we love to help business’ find the core of their brand, and tell that unique story with heart and humor. We’re passionate about the art of creating video for business and we’re always available to chat to you about your company’s needs. Use the form below to say hi and get started.