by Imran Siddiquee
In June we announced, with cautious excitement, that Go Daddy had decided to hire a new ad agency (Deutsch NY) and rethink their historically sexist style of advertising. While many of us had hoped the company would “tiptoe away from objectification,” this past week we saw the first examples of their new campaign – aired during the Olympics on NBC – and we are sad to report that the company seems to have little intention of leaving sexism behind.
The new spots feature women posing suggestively next to socially awkward men, while a male voice-over explains the advertising strategy: scantily-clad females attract customers, while men do the real work to keep the business running. In one commercial a model named “Selina” is compared to a customer service agent named “Wayne” like this: “Wayne pays attention to you, you pay attention to Selina.” It’s Go Daddy poking fun at their own small-minded ideas of the past, while simultaneously repackaging them for use again.
In every spot men are presented as the technology (the intelligence) behind the company, while women are shown as – quite literally – the window dressing that draws people into the business. It’s far from subtle, and consumers are already rejecting the messaging:
— Kelly (@KaulyJo) July 31, 2012
In many ways Go Daddy’s new ads are even worse than their previous ones. These commercials are blatant in suggesting that women are only valuable for their beauty and sexuality, and that they are completely separated from the kind of “intelligence” that creates and manages the company’s actual product. Their idea of female beauty – and of men – is extremely limiting and demeaning. Two women briefly appear to be working behind-the-scenes at Go Daddy in one spot, but are portrayed starkly different from the models in both dress, appearance and ethnicity (at least one is Asian and wearing glasses). They are also only momentarily visible. In the same commercial a male “hedge fund manager” – who is, presumably, a target demographic for the business (Again, women are not even potential customers for Go Daddy) – is shown to be incapable of controlling himself when faced with a woman in a swimsuit (and he is also Asian, wearing glasses). Not only are these ads sexist, but they are heteronormative and potentially racist.
It’s disappointing to see Go Daddy again reach for the lowest common denominator in their advertising, but it also only serves to renew our dedication to challenging them. Our #NotBuyingIt campaign got their attention once before, and, using our collective consumer power, we can do it again. Here’s a resource to help you leave Go Daddy if you are currently hosting your website there. And you can click below to let the company know via Twitter that you are definitely #NotBuyingIt!