- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 8, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) — A racy ad for a vendor of Web site names was pulled at the last minute from a second showing during the Super Bowl telecast on Sunday after NFL executives objected to the spot’s making light of singer Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” in last year’s halftime show.

The ad for GoDaddy.com Inc. featured a buxom woman appearing before a “broadcast censorship” hearing to make her case that she wanted to appear in a commercial, when suddenly she suffers a malfunction of her own as a strap breaks on her already skimpy top.

One of the elderly committee members reaches for an oxygen mask, while a woman suggests that the woman put on a turtleneck. The logo of the fake news channel was “G-Spin,” and the hearings supposedly were being held in Salem, Mass., the town made famous by witch trials.

Although the spot was approved by Fox executives prior to airing, a decision was made during broadcast not to air the spot a second time later in the game. Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the NFL, said the NFL’s chief operating officer, Roger Goodell, expressed his “disappointment” to Fox executives after seeing the first airing of the ad.

Mr. McCarthy said the NFL had not reviewed the ad prior to its airing and was not aware that it had been scheduled to be repeated.

“We questioned why a spot of that nature was in the game,” Mr. McCarthy said, noting its “inappropriateness” and the fact that it referred to last year’s incident.

Jon Nesvig, the president of advertising sales for Fox Broadcasting Co., a division of News Corp., said that when the commercial ran in the first half, “it became obvious to us that its content was very much out of step with the tenor set by the other ads and programming broadcast by Fox on Super Bowl Sunday, so Fox made the decision to drop its repeat airing.”

A spokesman for Fox declined to elaborate. Fox had rejected a second ad from GoDaddy.com prior to the broadcast.

Mr. McCarthy said the NFL had several conversations with Fox in the weeks leading up to the game in order to “make sure that the overall presentation of Super Bowl Sunday would be suitable for a mass audience. … That’s why we questioned this particular content.”

The NFL was determined not to have a repeat of last year’s complaints over the Janet Jackson halftime incident, in which her right breast was exposed after singer Justin Timberlake ripped off a piece of her costume.

Warren Adelman, chief operating officer of GoDaddy.com, said the company was “very disappointed” that the ad was pulled and received no advance warning from Fox.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company is still in discussions with Fox about what kind of restitution would be made, he said.

“The irony is that a parody of censorship was itself censored,” Mr. Adelman said.

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