Why It's Good to Get Your Commercial Banned From the Super Bowl

Not many people have a lot of money to throw around these days, so how is the recession affecting ad spending on the super-expensive Super Bowl?

Even after NBC lowered its ad prices, reports the Associated Press, FedEx and General Motors pulled their TV commercials, and Playboy isn’t having its annual Super Bowl party.

A 30-second Super Bowl commercial can cost $3 million. Worse yet, a new study by Stephen Blessing, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Tampa, challenges the effectiveness of such ads. After questioning Super Bowl viewers from past years, he found that:

While an advertisement may be particularly funny or strike some other emotional chord, viewers frequently misidentified the exact product that each ad was promoting, or the specific brand.

Maybe G.M. should try the same ad strategy as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA): get your commercial banned from the Super Bowl. PETA made a sexually explicit commercial that NBC wasn’t comfortable with — one that, just maybe, PETA knew NBC wouldn’t be comfortable with? — and got lots of press without having to actually run the ad.

The PETA commercial claims that vegetarians have better sex. It doesn’t fit NBC’s standards, nor does it fit The Times‘s; but here’s Whoopi Goldberg‘s PG-rated reenactment on the The View:

Rachel Mary

I think they wanted it to be rejected. They have a whole list of "Too Hot for TV" ads that have been banned. Check them out here http://www.peta.org/content/standalone/VeggieLove/Default.aspx

Be forewarned. These video playlists go straight from vegetable erotica to the horrors of factory farming. Those videos are too much for me, but I suggest you check this out http://www.goveg.com/factoryFarming.asp .



tee-hee: http://bacolicio.us/http://www.peta.org/

Kathleen Miller

That wasn't the only ad NBC rejected.


Companies like PETA capitalize on the "shock factors" that they get whether their campaigns are aired or rejected...they don't have ABC or Fox at their boycott rallies of KFC, yet everyone knows/hears about them through the grapevine and they get their message across nonetheless. This is just another effective example of their cross-media marketing succeeding.

Sharon McEachern

It used to be that even if you didn't care much about the Super Bowl, you'd still be sure to tune in for the commercials. This year I think alot of those folks watched Puppy Bowl instead. I bet even Mickey Rourke would rather watch Puppy Bowl. Remember a few weeks ago during his Golden Globes acceptance speech: "...sometimes when a man's alone, that's all you got is your dog." Did you know Rourke's got the names of his seven dogs etched inside one of his rings: Loki, Jack The Great, his "wife" Angel, Chocolate, Mow Zone, Knee Knee and Rome. If you want to know how he gave one of his chihuahuas mouth-to-mouth resusitation for 45 minutes, read:



Another ad got banned by the Super Bowl.

From www.gettoknowusfirst.org

But it wasn't because it was too hot.

It is because someone at the NFL or NBC disagrees with civil rights for all. And is afraid of people who have different values.

James K

Thank you for writing "affecting" instead of "impacting".

Many of us are grateful.


"Playboy isn't having its annual Super Bowl party. "

It's hard to keep things up these days eh? ;)


cash4gold.com bought an Ad what does this say about the price of Gold. Someone is willing to spend 3million to let people know he will buy gold from them?


Overweight ignorant women who have no clue about a healthy diet...
I would rather my kid watch the PETA commercial than those four clowns.

Corey Frisbee

I didnt see one ad that really got me last night



"If you want to know how he [Rourke] gave one of his chihuahuas mouth-to-mouth resusitation for 45 minutes..."

Um, no, I don't think I do.

On the other hand, the idea of it admittedly does bring up the amusing image of inflating the little doggy like a bug-eyed balloon.


I think that PETA producing a bound-to-be-banned ad may work in its favor, but not every company can follow this edgy online marketing strategy. The post's suggestion that maybe companies like Coca Cola or G.M., which appeal to households and more wholesome consumers, should follow PETA's direction is completely unsuitable. Traditional corporations can risk losing their respectable image and consumer trust.

PETA is known for provocative messages such as the “I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign and the many graphic videos of animals being skinned. PETA lives off the publicity generated by their controversial efforts. The edgy positioning they created for themselves complements their extreme view on animal-treatment.

PETA's vegetable ad is a great example of viral marketing can help a company extend its reach while still remaining true to its identity. Viral marketing works best for companies that want to be controversial, counter-cultural, and a little bit underground. But for the vast majority of companies, conventional marketing, like print and the Superbowl, is a more effective way to reach their audience.

Regardless of whether internet use has grown in a company's target market, a company's advertising should reflect the image it wants to project in both message and media. A little publicity is not worth ruining a company image that took years to build.


Ian Duncan

"nor does it fit The Times's" er, I just watched the original ad under the Times's masthead by clicking a related video at the end of the video you embedded. Is that a problem?

Also, it's hard to get over what isn't allowed on American TV.


I viewed the PETA ad and my first reaction was not "erotic" or "racy" or "provocative," but "dumb." By that standard the PETA spot would have fit right in with the other uninspired commercials.

I found the Cash4Gold advert, which did air, to be more offensive and certainly more misleading as well.

Fortunately the game was exciting...


PETA's campaigns and commercials are racy, bold and at times sexy... it says that a healthy mind has a healthy body... and eating food with a face just makes you what you eat... seems like the people st NBC have become just that and have proved it by banning the ad. Uh oh... I hear cows and goats protesting ...they don't want to be in the same league as the NBC converts!!!


DISPLAYS OF BAD BEHAVIOR -- I personally think that a majority of the ads show some sort of violent behavior...no one has said this. I'm no prude, but did anyone else notice this? The ones banned were to me relatively mild. To make the point.....In the first set of spots pre-grame, there was an Audi doing acts of Hit and Run; for BudLight - a guy being thrown out a window by his co-workers; for Doritos, a guy throwing a snow globe into the front of a vending machine to break it. There are really machismo, displays of bad behavior there for our youth...yet everyone sits back and laugh. Is that what our humor has come to? No WONDER the cute Clydesdale ad "Fetch" seemed to be a favorite...it had great images and a wonderful message. By the way, I'm in NYC Adv & Marketing...I'd never advise a client to go so overboard with violent images & scenarios -- you could do better. WAKE UP.