Nerds and Hot Models Making Out! Is There Such a Thing as Bad Buzz?

This year’s Super Bowl seems to have generated more buzz than in years past. Advertisers are coming back full force, spending upward of $4 million for a 30-second spot. That’s up 90% from a decade ago!  This year more than in years past, we noticed quite a bit of buzz building even before the Super Bowl. People are even still talking about the ads a few days later!

Advertisers seem to be raising the bar, and many people who previously did not care about the game are pulling up a chair to see the commercials (and the half time show, of course).

Some companies, aware of this phenomenon, make very wise use of that incredibly expensive screen time, creating memorable ads that not only entertain, but stick in the minds of those who watch them. But what happens if that attention draws a negative reaction?  What happens if what sticks is a bad vibe associated with a brand? Are those dollars wasted?

These are the questions we found ourselves asking after seeing the reaction the GoDaddy ad got during the Super Bowl.

Take a look if you haven’t seen it and we’ll see you on the other side.

The first thing any good commercial does is get attention, and GoDaddy has a history of doing this through racy commercials. In 2008, their first Super Bowl commercial was rejected for being too racy, but the one that did air made sure viewers could find it online. By the end of the game, 1.5 million people visited their site!  Clearly, shock and awe works for them, and this year was no exception. Some folks thought the kiss between a gorgeous model and a nerdy guy was gross, some thought it was too racy, and some just laughed. The stars of the commercial even appeared on the Today show the next morning to talk about the “controversy.”  But is there truly such a thing as bad buzz?

In this case, we don’t think so. The folks at GoDaddy are pretty stoked right now and we love that they’ve kicked up a little dust and gone for the gusto. Somebody’s got to push the envelope!

This has actually happened to us when we worked on a 30-second TV spot for the Providence College Friar’s Men’s Basketball Team. We tossed around a few ideas here and there, some safe and traditional, some a little edgy. In the end, we decided that edgy was the way to go. The spot caused quite a stir and raised a few eyebrows. It aired after some of the basketball players had been involved in a much talked about off campus brawl. To some, the tough Friartown image we portrayed in the spot was too gritty, especially in light of the unfortunate incident. Others loved it and thought it was just as fierce as the illustrious team it aimed to promote.

Either way, whether folks liked it or didn’t, it did its job. It got attention and made people talk. Providence College was actually happy with the spot because it started conversations and ultimately put some buns in the stands at the Friar’s games!

We were excited to be part of a buzz generating TV spot, even if it wasn’t well received by everyone. In the end, the important thing is that it got attention and generated excitement about the Friars.

In this way, negative buzz is just as good as positive buzz.

We think the GoDaddy buzz is also a good thing. We’re just jealous we didn’t make the commercial ourselves. We would have loved to have met Jesse Heiman and Bar Refaeli, the stars of the commercial.

Besides, it’s fun to kick up a little dust every once in a while…

What do you guys think?  Was the ad a bit much for you?  Is there such a thing as bad buzz when it comes to TV ads?


  • Thu, 02/07/2013 - 11:37am reply

    I hated this commercial for so many reasons...it made me physically ill! It was awful and totally inappropriate! Shame on Bar Rafaeli for stooping so low...she goes from dating an A-lister (Leo DiCaprio) to doing this??? A fall from grace.

    • Thu, 02/07/2013 - 11:37am reply

      Your reaction is not an uncommon one, Becky. Do you think that this may negatively impact GoDaddy?

      • Thu, 02/07/2013 - 11:37am reply

        Well - we are all talking about it - so... no - I think it worked..

        • Thu, 02/07/2013 - 11:37am reply

          @mrpcgugu: We think it worked too. We picture the folks at GoDaddy high fiving each other for taking another risk that paid off big time! 

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