The Anti-Commercial

When I was about fourteen, my mother took me to visit my grandfather.

He suffered from depression. He was scarred from his service in World War II. The only thing he ever said about the war was this: “I should have married that nice girl I met in France instead of your grandmother.”

My grandmother once popped my balloon with a cigarette while she was gesticulating wildly to complain about how people shouldn’t get welfare, so, fair enough, Grandpa.

I hadn’t seen my grandfather in a few years. I was an incredibly thin teen. My mother had put on a few pounds. When we arrived at his small apartment, he stared at us. Then he said:

“I guess she’s eating all the food.”

I was, of course, hurt and offended, but also IMPRESSED by the skill with which he so succinctly mocked us BOTH.

This memory popped into my head when I saw the horrible GoDaddy commercial during the Super Bowl.

Here’s a space where I’m not linking to the commercial:

I don’t want them to get any more hits, so let me describe it. A stereotypically attractive female model sits next to a stereotypically unattractive male geek. The voice over says something crappy about web hosting.

Then the model and the geek kiss. This is supposed to be CRAZY in ALL-CAPS. This is supposed to be as outlandish as every other commercial premise. This is as WEIRD as A PLANET FULL OF BABIES or OLD PEOPLE EATING AT TACO BELL or GOTHS DRINKING BUDWEISER.

There are horrible unnatural kissing smacking sound effects most likely created by slapping a seal with a wet noodle. Like that, but more disgusting. It was like they couldn’t decide whether the kiss itself should be funny or sexy so they went with the third option of REVOLTING.

Then, just like my grandfather, the commercial delivers the perfect double punch. The voice says something along the lines of you should use GoDaddy because it does this brilliant thing of combining SEXY and SMART.

After the average American Super Bowl viewer managed to hold down their Doritos and Bud Light through the endless kissing scene, they were treated to this moral at the end of the commercial:

Sexy women aren’t smart.
Smart men aren’t sexy.

I had to fight the urge to leap off the couch and go cancel my GoDaddy account. The only reason I didn’t is because I do not have a GoDaddy account. I’m tempted to sign up for one so I can have the satisfaction of canceling it. If you have a GoDaddy account, I politely encourage you to consider canceling it.

The Super Bowl commercials were extra horrifying this year as though they were actually striving to meet a bullshit stereotype reinforcement quota. Old people shouldn’t have fun, violence is cool, women are objects, Stevie Wonder is a voodoo priest, babies can’t be astronauts, etc.

I had a more visceral reaction to the GoDaddy commercial because it seemed to go out of its way to be as offensive as possible and then wink about it. Like it was cute and clever. Those fools! Don’t they realize ONE entity can’t be both CUTE and CLEVER! That’s as outrageous as an attractive woman kissing an intelligent man!

I expect this sort of absurdity from Budweiser. Frankly, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Christopher Walken, Shia LaBeouf, and a team of Playboy Bunnies do a 60 second spot to advertise the new Bud Light Beer Enema. I would have had problems with that, too, but all the societal issues would be more difficult to analyze and address.

I think we need to start breaking down the cheap, easy stereotypes. It’s not easy, but the GoDaddy commercial gives us a nice place to start. I hope a lot of people who are both smart and sexy tell GoDaddy that they really aren’t interested in being negatively stereotyped. I hope they remind GoDaddy that what they want out of a web hosting company is web hosting, not insulting commercials with horrific kissing noises.

There are plenty of web hosting options out there.

We all make choices.

My grandfather could have married that nice girl in France.

We could tell GoDaddy where to go.

12 Comments

Filed under Comedy Review

12 Responses to The Anti-Commercial

  1. Albatross

    If the GoDaddy advertisers don’t believe people can be smart AND sexy, they haven’t met the women on the cast of Vilification Tennis. The men not so much, but the women, for sure.

  2. FerrousOxide

    Wow. That sounds just astoundingly offensive, and i’m not offended by anything.

    For the record, my love is the smartest geek i know. And i think he’s pretty darned sexy too.

  3. Caitlinkittenface

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?

    I CANT BE SEXY AND SMART?

    This is the stupid persona bullshit I hate dealing with all the time.

    I am a female, I am a geek, I am sexy, and I am smart.

    Just because I doll up and look hot, does not mean I wouldn’t LOVE to sit down and talk to you about the idea of string theory, or even the mummification process used by the Egyptians, or hell lets talk coding!

    People think Americans are stupid. But are sadly disappointed when we stand up against it.
    Im tired of being subjugated to idiocracy.

  4. Alice

    Yeah, like goths are hip enough to drink Budweiser. Though I was pleased to see The Flaming Lips make some money, even if it was to promote …a minivan.

  5. I just posted this to Facebook, and might use it in the YoungNotions post tomorrow, but you wrote about it today, so here you go:

    “GoDaddy has always had horribly sexist commercials objectifying women. In some of them, I feel like they are satirical, playing against the idea of sexy women with sexy women. Last year’s commercial where they addressed the sexism with sexy women not getting the sexism was fantastic. I felt the snake was not only eating its own tail, but deep-throating it like a blonde chick in an interracial porno.

    But this one… maybe that’s what they were trying to do, but failed. Part of that might be because intelligent guys were getting stereotyped as unsexy. I mean, it’s one thing to do it to women, because they’re not real people. But to turn intelligent men into tropes and object… too far, GoDaddy.

    Mostly though, it just wasn’t funny. There was no punchline… just an awkward situation with more awkward, with a side of gross, all smothered in awkward. It wasn’t funny to people who don’t get satire, and it wasn’t funny to those of us who usually do. It was just awkward.

    Awkward like a computer nerd. Amirite?”

  6. The sound was even worse at the Superb Owl party we were at, as the host had full 5.1 surround. It was like you were there, between their tongues.

  7. Frost

    Equally revolting is the idea that GoDaddy offers a smart or sexy product in the first place. Technologically, GoDaddy is about as attractive as a 70 year old call girl who conducts business in a hospital dumpster.

  8. Loved your dissection of the latest horror from GoDaddy.

    I had the displeasure of applying for a job there (I was desperate for work at the time) and being blocked from the interview process by an inane test they administer (not an aptitude test, therefore not kosher)… and a few other violations of federal employment law. Their offices in Scottsdale, AZ, are dungeon-like, and they have armed guards wearing all-black BDUs (former Marines, I’m told) milling about inside the facility. Security theater, but hey, all the people running the call center there look appropriately beat down.

    The impression I got was a company built and run by frat boys who never grew up. Their officers play a game of musical chairs, switching roles frequently; I doubt there’s much integrity there. The tenor of their ads, therefore, doesn’t shock me.

    I just remember sitting there, after having been told on the phone I was there for an interview, and being told that no, I can’t even talk to anyone until I take their little test. The guy who’s supposed to interview me has my resume in his hand and he’s telling me this. Once I realized what the test was, I actually made the barest token effort because I didn’t want to waste my time on it and because the environment was seriously creeping me out. But then the “interviewer” decided to give me another chance the next day, and I reluctantly decided to reschedule because I was still desperate for a job, and realized I might not have any other opportunities lined up.

    The SOB calls me on the drive home, in the middle of a storm, to tell me that he’s changed his mind and hired someone else for the position. So an all-around waste of time.

    Cheap and easy stereotypes? The predictable result of an incestuous, corrupt corporate culture and facile thinking behind the scenes. It permeates everything they do.

  9. And Scrimshaw comes in for the WIN!!! GoDaddy needs to get GoNeutered.

  10. Leslie

    “I hope a lot of people who are both smart and sexy tell GoDaddy that they really aren’t interested in being negatively stereotyped.”

    The commercial wasn’t any good, but this would be a pretty narcissistic, oblivious thing to go do. “Help, I’ve hit the genetic lottery twice but you’re comparing me to those awful people who’ve only hit the genetic lottery once . How dare you? I have all these advantages in life over the smart and ugly or the dumb and beautiful but that’s nothing to having my existence denied on national television. I’m at the top of the social hierarchy but I’m being negatively stereotyped.” A lot of unexamined privilege there.

  11. Leslie–Thanks for the comment, but I think you’re examining that one sentence out of the context of the rest of the piece. My opinion is that the commercial reinforces stereotypes of what “smart” and “sexy” typically look like in media. I think there are a lot of different ways to be smart and sexy. I would go so far as to say, I think the majority of people in the world have those attributes.

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