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Super Bowl ads: The GoDaddy vs. Calvin Klein controversy

The Super Bowl gives Monday morning quarterbacking a whole new meaning because the sporting event is known as much for its commercials as it is for the championship game itself. In Super Bowl XLVII’s postgame and post-commercial analysis, we’re hearing a lot of controversy over two specific commercials. Here’s one gal’s take on gross vs. glorious…

The Buzz – GoDaddy and Calvin Klein Commercials Upset Super Bowl Watchers
Viewers are once again shocked by the content of the super bowls commercials.

How do we define gross?

What is inappropriate and what isn’t is as subjective as it gets. The GoDaddy commercial that has everyone in an uproar features model (and ex-Leonardo DiCaprio flame) Bar Refaeli and “Walter” making out. People were horrified by this concept for a multitude of reasons, which we’ll get into. In the Calvin Klein commercial, Matthew Terry models Calvin Klein underwear and super-human abs.

Fun for the whole family

Much of the backlash surrounding these two commercials is an argument that is as age-old as the Super Bowl itself. The Super Bowl is touted as a family event. Anything seen as pushing the G-rated envelope is open to controversy.

But here’s what we know about Super Bowl commercials. GoDaddy is going to have an ad. And that ad is going to be inappropriate. Parents can DVR the commercial and fast-forward through it or they can turn the TV off for 30 seconds. If their children are older, they can do what my 18-year-old daughter and I did, which is watch the Calvin Klein commercial repeatedly in slo-mo. After meticulously researching this commercial, I have decided that anyone who thinks this Calvin Klein ad is offensive should have their head examined. It just showcases a nice young man who eats well and exercises. Young Matthew is actually setting a fine example for today’s young people. Childhood obesity is at an all-time high. I, for one, applaud Calvin Klein and think they should continue this marketing strategy.

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Oh, here we go with everyone’s feelings getting hurt. Yes, Bar’s role in the GoDaddy commercial objectifies women because they are sending the message that someone as attractive as Bar can’t also be smart — they had to bring in Walter for that. It’s also perpetuating the stereotype that smart people are unattractive nerds. Do you think Jesse Heiman who plays Walter is losing much sleep over the controversy of this ad? He probably did it for free. For her part, Bar probably got paid extra to make out with Walter. (Who knew she was such a good actress?)

And how about our new favorite underwear model Matt? Is he being objectified? Let’s look at what both companies are selling. GoDaddy is selling domain and web-hosting services, which have nothing to do with the sexual theme of their commercials. Calvin Klein is selling underwear, which is hard to do without seeing the underwear. If Matthew was making out with a hot model and all we saw was his bare chest in an underwear commercial, then we’d have a fair comparison.

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Both win

Regardless of your reaction, GoDaddy and Calvin Klein are smirking up their sleeves this morning, because look what everyone is talking about! Does anyone remember what happened in the third quarter of the Super Bowl? Even if we do, we are chattering about GoDaddy’s and Calvin Klein’s commercials. Our hats are off to both marketing teams for formulating something buzz-worthy (for good or bad reasons) in a commercial competition that is as fierce as the Super Bowl competition.

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