Super Bowl advertisers aim not to offend

Mae Anderson
Associated Press

New York — Super Bowl advertisers are being careful not to offend.

GoDaddy decided not to run an ad that showed a dog being sold online so as not to offend dog lovers. The Victoria's Secret angels are fully clothed in its teaser spot, at least, although they reveal more in their actual Super Bowl ad. And an anti-domestic abuse commercial will have a high profile-spot during the game.

Most Super Bowl ads will try to avoid racy images, but Victoria’s Secret’s ad will show the models dressed in lingerie.

Advertisers have to find a balance between grabbing people's attention and not going too far to shock or offend viewers. They want to be sure to make the estimated $4.5 million they're spending for a 30-second Super Bowl ad worth it. This year, that seems to mean erring on the side of caution.

"Companies are being more prudent," said MediaPost columnist Barbara Lippert.

It's a far cry from the dot.com commercial attempts in 2000, when an E*Trade ad showed a monkey in a garage and touted the fact that the company had just wasted $2 million dollars, but MediaPost's Lippert says it makes sense to be restrained.

Even GoDaddy, which made its name with racy Super Bowl spots since it began advertising 11 years ago, has been moving away from being edgy; last year one of its Super Bowl ads focused on a woman running a small business.

This year, they promised a warm and fuzzy ad featuring a puppy, spoofing a Budweiser ad from last year. But the twist at the end of GoDaddy's spot showed the puppy was being sold online via a web site created with Godaddy.com. After it debuted early, a social media storm erupted, with pet lovers finding the ad offensive. GoDaddy said it wouldn't air the ad.

This image provided by GoDaddy shows a portion of the company's television ad that was scheduled to run during Super Bowl XLIX, before the company decided to pull the ad late Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. GoDaddy decided not to run the ad so as not to offend dog lovers. (AP Photo/GoDaddy)

Other companies appear to be playing it safe by not focusing so much on bare skin and sophomoric humor.

A Victoria's Secret 90-second teaser ad showed supermodels fully dressed as football players.