Flavor du jour: Do the Ends Justify the Means?
by special corresblogdent, Lynellen
Advertising can be defined as “the business of drawing public attention to goods and services”.
Some of the most talked-about television advertising are the Super Bowl ads . The particular ad that sparked this essay was this years GoDaddy.com spot which apparently went through 14 rejections and revisions by the network before air time. The first version involved a well-built woman “washing” a car … but mostly washing herself with bubbles both before and after ripping her t-shirt off to reveal a string bikini. I know that people want to argue about what constitutes p o r n, but “I know it when I see it.” Perhaps they were trying to mimic Jessica Simpson’s recent music video from the “Dukes of Hazzard” movie. Several other versions are not much better.
GoDaddy.com’s founder is Bob Parsons who started Parsons Technology, which was well-known for its Christian software “QuickVerse”, “America’s Christian Heritage”, and “The Dictionary of Christianity in America”. Bob’s current focus is bringing internet traffic to GoDaddy.com regardless of method. In his personal blog he says that it doesn’t matter what people say about his Super Bowl ad, that the traffic increase is the point.
The blog then says that the racy ad was “well received” because it offended only 12% of women polled:
It doesn't matter what people say.What he would have meant is, pay no attention to what anyone is saying about the pudding. Instead, the only thing that counts is if people are eating it or not.
Based on my Dad’s criteria, I’m proud to report that Go Daddy unquestionably had the very best ad in this year’s Super Bowl and I’ve got the numbers to back it up.
In two days we've had an incremental 1.790 million visitors to GoDaddy.com!On Super Bowl Sunday, visits to the Go Daddy website were up by 880,000 visitors more than normal. On the following day, Monday, visits continued to be strong and were also up by 910,000 visitors more than normal.
Our commercial was well received.And being offensive in Super Bowl ads doesn’t bother Bob Parsons. According to WorldNetDaily for the 2005 Super Bowl ad,
The vast majority of our viewers were just fine with our commercial. Overall 5.9% of viewers found our Super Bowl ad offensive. This breaks down to 3% of males and 12.7% of females. This is slightly more contentious than last year’s ad where 4.7%
of viewers found the commercial offensive, with the breakdown being 3.5% male and 12.2% female.
While Parsons made an excellent living selling Bible resources to Christians, some of them no doubt fundamentalist Christians, the man in charge of the steamy Super Bowl commercial, ad-agency executive Paul Cappelli, came close to skewering fundamentalists in the spot.
"Initially, the panel was going to be made up of old men dressed as nuns," Cappelli told AdWeek in describing the creative process leading to the ad. "I just wanted the image to be people who were out-of-touch religious fundamentalists."
The ad reportedly came about when Parsons told Cappelli: "I would love to have a beautiful woman with a nice ample chest with my company name across her shirt."When media critics comment on his ad (for example, Barbara Lippert , his blog dismisses her by resorting to personal insults and saying that her comments are coming from someone “grouchy” and “old”.
Being offensive in his personal blog doesn’t bother Bob Parsons either. If you read the (moderated) comments that follow his post, you’ll see a few complaints about the racy ad and Bob’s responses to ‘get a life’. He routinely blows off their opinion and comes back to his justification that increased internet traffic proves that his ad was acceptable.
So what happened to Bob Parsons to take him from someone who directed the creation of great Christian software into someone who doesn’t mind being offensive to women? We may never know, but it apparently was enough of a change that his wife left him during the transition from Parsons Technology to GoDaddy.com
To close, what is my responsibility as a webmaster in connection with GoDaddy.com? Most of my clients are Christian ministries, and all of them are hosted on GoDaddy. As a Christian, do I take my business elsewhere even if it means paying more and getting less service? Where does stewardship of scarce ministry funds conflict with giving money to a company that has become openly hostile to women and to Christians? Is this an obvious question or is my dilemma legitimate? And finally, the age-old question of ‘do the ends justify the means?’ What are your thoughts… should there be any ethics or absolutes in business?