Israeli spotting at the Super Bowl
Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and, as always, the commercials stand to be as unforgettable as some of the bolder plays on the field. For Israelis, the spot to watch is GoDaddy’s promotion of its web hosting service featuring Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli. The video is already all over the Internet and has racked up a million and a half views in the three days since it was posted.
What’s all the fuss about? Other than it feeding Israelis’ already raging demand for all news Bar (swimsuits, Leonardo Dicaprio, draft evasion accusations), it features a really graphic kiss between the supermodel and a super-nerd played by Jesse Heiman, who has made a living playing geeks (he’s been in Spiderman, The Social Network, American Pie 2, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and others).
Any computer dude who’s ever had a crush on the woman voted sexiest Israeli (and in some polls, sexiest person, period) can live out those fantasies through this commercial.
The TV ad’s message: GoDaddy brings together the sexy and the smart to create a perfect solution for small businesses. I’m not sure why my web host has to be sexy – I want it to work not send me alluring messages when my site is down – but GoDaddy has built its reputation on models in short shorts pushing $10 domain registrations. It’s a living, I guess.
The bigger issue is whether the commercial is appropriate in the first place. CBS, which is airing the Super Bowl, initially rejected the ad for being too explicit. That’s not hard to imagine. If it were just a quick kiss, we’d get the point. But this one goes up close and lingers for 13 seconds of serious smooching. Yes, I counted, even as I squirmed in discomfort.
For the record, I have nothing against nerds (I used to be one myself, although my kids may argue with the usage of the past tense here). I’d be just as uneasy if the kiss were with Hugh Grant or Hugh Laurie or some other Hugh (for the record, I have nothing against Hugh’s either).
This is not the first time Refaeli has gone viral with a deliberately saucy video. The Funny or Die website created a fake Kickstarter video to solicit donations that would help Refaeli create a sex tape. Donators could receive everything from a signed photo from the shoot to a chance to play the leading man. She aims to raise $10,000; in the video she tops $925,000,000. That one’s been viewed more than two million times on the Funny or Die website alone.
For the GoDaddy spot, Refaeli and co-star Heiman apparently took somewhere between 47 and 65 takes to complete (I’ve read both figures). “We tried to get it as perfect as possible,” Heiman said in an interview on NBC’s Today Show, when asked if he “kept messing up on purpose.”
That sounds almost like disinformation to keep the story spinning even further. Or perhaps it was just tongue in cheek. Literally.