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GoDaddy, Wix, Squarespace Get Ready for Super Bowl Ad Tangle

Veteran Super Bowl advertiser GoDaddy is about to take the field – in a matter of speaking.

The company, which specializes in digital services that have in recent years become less arcane – website building and promotion among them – this morning is unveiling a “teaser clip” aimed at sparking anticipating for the 30-second Super Bowl ad it intends to show February 5th during Fox’s broadcast of Super Bowl LI.

The idea, said Barb Rechterman, GoDaddy’s chief marketing officer, is to kick off interest in a campaign that will use dozens of humorous references to popular social-media memes. With that in mind, people who seek out the teaser may not be completely surprised to find it involved a heartwarming video of a cat.

And yet, GoDaddy may have to work harder to win consumer acclaim. Three different advertisers in the gridiron classic will be tangled up in trying to describe what the web can do for consumers.

For several years, GoDaddy and newer entrants Squarespace and Wix have used the gridiron classic to launch ad salvos aimed at getting the buffalo-wing-and-beer crowd to hang up their own digital shingle. The companies help consumers craft websites, promote themselves online and even conduct e-commerce. In doing so, they have created one of the Super Bowl’s hotter categories, and given rise to the scrambles in past games between Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, or Monster.com and CareerBuilder.

“It is more crowded, but we believe our creative execution will stand out against the competition,” vowed Rechterman, in an interview. “It will be more memorable: We are leveraging humor and we’ve go the brand recognition we’ve been building over 12 years.”

The challenge: GoDaddy stepped away from the Super Bowl in 2016 for the first time since it started running ads in the game in 2005.  Since that time, rivals Squarespace and Wix.com have entered the Super Bowl fray. This year, Wix has tapped action stars Jason Staham (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”) and Gal Gadot (the coming “Wonder Woman”) for its ad.

““We’re aware that several of our competitors are also in the Super Bowl but we really have our blinders on when it comes to our creative,” said David Lee, Squarespace’s chief creative officer, in answers to questions sent via email.  “At the end of the day, we’re trying to create the best product and do our best work, and that happens independently of what our competitors are doing. We feel that we have something unique that is going to cut through and stand out, and as such, we’re not so concerned with what other companies are doing around us.

A lot could be at stake: By one 2015 estimate from Verisign, the market for web services such as these could amount to as much as $50 billion. To snatch their share of it, executives at the three companies say they are trying to keep their focus on themselves, not their rivals.

Even with the extra competition, Wix sees value in returing to the game, said Omer Shai, the company’s chief marketing officer, in an interview.  Ads this year are said to cost upwards of $5 million for 30 seconds,  but “you have to understand how quickly we see the money coming back after an investment in the Super Bowl,” Shai said.

GoDaddy will Wednesday launch a new suite of services – details will be made available at a microsite http://www.GoDaddy.com/TheInternet, along with other teaser clips – and intends to unveil its full commercial during a broadcast of “Greatest Super Bowl Commercials Ever,” slated to appear on CBS on January 31 at 8 p.m. eastern.

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