GoDaddy's latest and truly tasteless Super Bowl ad provides a fascinating case study on the positive power of negative reaction. Viewers hated the ad, according to every metric. GoDaddy scored big on the most important metric–sales.
You remember the GoDaddy Super Bowl ad, the one featuring a nebbish–a tech nerd– engaging in a graphic make-out session with supermodel Bar Refaeli. The 30-second spot scored dead last among all Super Bowl ads across almost every informal poll and Twitter sentiment analysis. The "Kiss" ad wasn't just bad or boring -- the advertisement actively offended viewers, sending many of them to their second screens to immediately document their outrage.
Sounds like a real waste of $3.8 million for 30 seconds, right? Guess again. The day after the ad ran was GoDaddy's most successful sales day ever, according to data shared with the tech blog Mashable. Not only did the ad convert impressive sales revenue, it allowed GoDaddy to make significant headway in pursuit of the modern marketer's current reigning Holy Grail–mobile sales.
Breaking down the metrics of a borderline-sexist GoDaddy Super Bowl ad might sound about as appealing as performing an autopsy on a hagfish. Nonetheless, there are some interesting lessons here in creating negative consumer sentiment on purpose and then leveraging that negative sentiment into record sales revenue.
The GoDaddy "Kiss" ad aired at 6:46 p.m. ET, about 15 minutes after the game's kickoff –a premium ad spot. The spot lasted only 30 seconds, but to many of us it felt like we were watching those two kiss for about an hour. The graphic close-up shot seemed to go on and on, irritating millions of viewers in the process.
The social media reaction was swift and overwhelmingly negative. The social metrics analysis firm Whispr Group found the ad generated more than a quarter million tweets–86 percent of which were negative reactions, rendering "The Kiss" the most disliked of any of the ads by far. "The Kiss" came in dead last in viewer-submitted rankings on the "Best Super Bowl Commercial" lists compiled by USA Today and Wall Street Journal readers.
There were no morning-after regrets at GoDaddy. The web hosting service enjoyed its biggest sales day in history Monday, with 10,000 new customers overall. Hosting account sales were up 45 percent over a comparable period last year and their share of mobile customers increased by 35 percent.
Granted, GoDaddy is just cherry-picking their best data for press release purpose, but those are some very good cherries to have available for picking.
Compare the value of these statistics to 2011, when GoDaddy was toting the biggest spike in web traffic of any Super Bowl advertiser. Web traffic is great, but you don't have to work on Madison Avenue to realize that web traffic does not necessarily equal dollars. Those GoDaddy post-Super Bowl sales figures are missing some key context, but each of them does represent penetration into coveted market segments.
The "Kiss" ad generated hundreds of thousands of tweets, the most insightful of which comes from ESPN sports and business reporter Darren Rovell. "The USA Today ad meter has the GoDaddy ‘Kiss’ ad as the worst commercial in the entire broadcast," Rovell tweeted. "Likely was most effective."
Delivering the most successful Super Bowl ad their client has ever enjoyed, "The Kiss" ad producer Deutsch, Inc. won't get much lip from GoDaddy about all those "worst commercial" complaints.
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