Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Ad You Won't See On Sunday's Game

By Doug Vehle
For The Daily Bosco

A single Superbowl commercial will cost millions to air for 30 seconds, but advertisers feel it is worth it. This is the single biggest commercial event of the year, with such legendary spots as the Apple 'Big Brother' introduction for the MacIntosh being seen so many times over and over, even though Apple only paid to air it once. Getting on the air with the Superbowl can get you noticed, but what about NOT getting on the air?

It's a well known fact in TV advertising that, the moment the networks refuse to run your air as a paid advertisement, it will suddenly be seen again and again in news reports. The banned commercial for Madonna's 'Truth or Dare' documentary became an entertainment news staple, without costing a single airtime dollar. Slick way to be front and center for free, if you can pull it off.

So tell me: What if you could get this unlimited coverage for your commercial, without paying a dime? Would you deliberately make a commercial they'd refuse to air?

That I suspect is the motive behind PETA's too-hot-for-television commercial that's been rejected by NBC. PETA purportedly intended that this Playboy channel level sex-with-vegetables commercial, featuring models wearing rather than fur, with substitutes for the farm animals, to be presented to the same American football audience who watched Janet Jackson have a 'Wardrobe malfunction,' and got up in arms over it.

Had the network accepted, we would know nothing about this commercial at this time. Instead, a week before the game, the PETA campaign is in the news. And maybe there's already been as many viewers of the commercials as there would have been during the game, at no cost to PETA.

The most controversial commercial of the past Superbowls would probably be the 'Go Daddy Girl' spot, with the woman testifying in a hearing, then having a wardrobe malfunction of her own. Unlike Jackson, pro wrestler Candice Michelle didn't actually do anything you're not supposed to see on television. However, the urban legend grew up that the commercial was supposed to air a second time, but didn't when the network lost its' nerve. The rumor was probably started by the Go Daddy marketing department, and the real controversy was over the question if the story was actually true or not. Probably it was just a great ploy, the commercial itself would have been long forgotten without it. Go Daddy has previously said they wouldn't run a commercial this year, as they can't think of anything interesting enough. Though they said the same thing last year and wound up with an entry.

Well, people are certainly forgetting all those women who've gone naked rather than wear fur. There's no question that PETA needed something new. But was the something new supposed to be the commercial itself? Or the controversy?

You'll get plenty of opportunity to judge for yourself. You won't see it on the Superbowl, but it's already available at, and all over the place. Still pictures, too. At no cost to PETA. And as with the spot, you can judge their motives for yourself. It'll be around long after this year's Superbowl is over.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The to controversial to air is a good strategic move. Peta has always been known for it's controversy.