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Are Fox and The NFL Kidding? Apparently Standards and Practices Are... Fluid.

Posted by: David Kiley on February 08, 2005

As advertisers (and bloggers) try to figure out where the lines of appropriateness are to be drawn, when it comes to advertising on network TV, it gets even harder when the gatekeepers keep changing their minds.

Fox Network and the NFL decided after the first airing of the ad in the first half of the Super Bowl that it was to crass to run again in the second half. Howzat? For those who have been visiting Nepal for the last week, the ad mocked the debate over “taste” in ads that bubbled up since Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed during last year’s Super Bowl half-time show. The ad showed a boobascious girl testifying before a fictional standards-and-practices panel of legislators in Salem (Witch Hunt) Mass.

So, let me get this straight. The ad runs on the Net and on network TV infotainment shows in the days before the game. It gets greenlighted for the game (to this reviewer’s surprise) by Fox and the NFL. It actually runs in the first half. And after all that, the suits at Fox (who let their own show hosts bludgeon the truth on an almost nightly basis) decided that it wasn’t appropriate to run again in the second half? I’d love to play chess with these guys. I can hear them now: “That move I made a few moves back, when you took my bishop…in my head, I never really took my hand off the piece, so I want to re-do that.” How about painting a house with these guys? You show them the paint chips and buy the paint at the store with them. You spend all weekend painting. The whole job is nearly done, and they chime up, “Holy Cow! It’s green. I don’t think green is right for this. I thought it was white. Do over!” Who did these people learn the ropes from, Leona Helmsley? CEO Bob Parsons complained to Fox when he didn’t see his ad come up the second time. He says he’s disappointed. Frankly, I think Fox did him a big favor. By acting like boobs bigger than those on the girl in the ad, the Fox suits have to give Parsons his $2.4 million back. If I were Parsons, I’d revel in the savings and all the publicity generated by the spot and the wacky behavior of Fox and the NFL.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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