3. Is Bad Attention Still Good Attention?

Remember those girls in middle school who would do absolutely anything to get attention? Acting out in class, flirting with boys who definitely aren’t ready for it yet–making complete fools of themselves, all for the attention.


They still exist, and they go by the name of GoDaddy. I, like most of the American population watching the Superbowl, suffered through the ad spot of Bar Rafaeli making out with a red-faced computer programmer. (I don’t mean to generalize…I suppose some people might have been into that sort of thing.) After I got over the sucking and squishing sounds of Rafaeli’s acting dedication, I thought to myself, how in the hell did this get approved? It wasn’t far off, in regards to shock level, to previous GoDaddy spots, but come on. Spare us the sounds.

However, it did get our attention. In a horrible, horrible way, it got the attention of the biggest audience on TV.

Genius? Fucked up? Both?

Scott Bedbury, while speaking to my Creative Strategist class, gave me some insight on the matter. He mentioned the manner in which advertising preys on the ethos of the American population. We, as a culture, are scaredy cats. We respond to shock and awe, and advertisements target this inert side of us.

But does it actually bring us to the site? Does shocking the audience actually give us the impulse to go interact with that brand, or does it scare us away?

Bedbury answered this question with one of the most eye-opening outlooks on advertising that I’ve heard to date. Advertising is both an art and a science. It is true that you must target the logical, scientific side of people. More importantly, however, you must reach that emotional side of people to connect them with what you’re trying to do as a brand.

According to the Business Insider, the ad did work–despite rolling in dead last in USA Today’s Ad Meter. After the spot ran, GoDaddy experienced its best sales day in company history.

How’s that for emotional targeting? The urge to puke is a feeling after all.


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