By Ben Popken, TODAY contributor
GoDaddy's reputation, and infamy, has been built in large part due to its lewd, mammary-filled Super Bowl ads. This year's, while still trading in the "sex sells" mentality, is a little different. But not so different as to fail to meet the expectations everyone has for a GoDaddy Super Bowl ad.
Featuring model Bar?Refaeli in a drawn-out smooch with a tech geek, one of GoDaddy's two 2013 Super Bowl ads once again cashes in on sex appeal. Compared to its earlier efforts, though, this one is classy, even sweet.
The commercial also stars race car driver Danica Patrick, who regularly appears in commercials for GoDaddy. The ad opens with a statement from Danica:
"There are two sides to GoDaddy. There's the sexy side represented by Bar Refaeli. ?And the smart side that creates a killer website for your small business, represented by Walter. Together, they're perfect.?
Cue the kiss.
At the end you're not left hating (but remembering) GoDaddy. Instead, you're rooting for the nerdly, curly-haired, bespectacled "Walter," played by Hollywood extra Jesse Heiman, who gets to do the lingering intense kiss with the blonde Refaeli.
"I told Jesse that he's a very good kisser," said Refaeli on the TODAY show, appearing via satellite from Tel Aviv.
"I actually had this very strange dream that all my friends know about. I always wanted to go to a club... look around, choose the one guy it's most unlikely that I'll ever kiss ... and kiss him in front of everyone, so he will be happy and he'll remember it for the rest of the week," said Refaeli, who?was voted #1 on Maxim magazine's Hot 100 list of 2012.?"GoDaddy made my dream come true."
The scene apparently took 65 takes.
"We tried to get it as perfect as possible," said Heiman, who smiled and shook his head when asked if he purposely messed it up in order to keep the kisses coming.
Bar?Refaeli, a 2009 Sports Illustrated cover model and the former flame of Leonardo DiCaprio,?does reveal a hint of cleavage in her taut, pink cocktail dress. However, there's no wardrobe malfunctions or down-the-shirt shots. Make no mistake, the centerpiece of the ad is an act of sexuality, a long kiss, but it's less "Girls Gone Wild" and more in the awkward rom-com vein you might see in a Judd Apatow-produced film.
Has GoDaddy grown up?
Somewhat. They're still up to their old teasing tricks. GoDaddy said CBS rejected a version of the ad that showed Refaeli and Heiman's tongues wrapped around each other's in an extended close-up, footage which the company shared with our producers.?A "non-Frenching" version will air during the Big Game.?But Heiman was quick to remind viewers of the TODAY show during his appearance this morning that they can go online to see more than what will be allowed during the Super Bowl.
GoDaddy's previous ads have had Danica Patrick slowly unzipping her jacket and then appearing to cut away right as she was about to show her breasts. Those ads told watchers to go online to GoDaddy.com to "see more."
The first time GoDaddy's ad appeared in the Super Bowl, visits to their website surged 400 percent, and orders shot up 100 percent, according to data by comScore.
"I would be very much fine with the second one airing and not the tamer one," Refaeli said. "When we do something?like that filled with a lot of humor, and we are joking about ourselves, I'd rather we go all the way." For those viewers who agree, GoDaddy will have something waiting for them on their website after the ad airs on the game, along with their ready and waiting online cash registers.
Do you think Bar Refaeli?s GoDaddy Super Bowl ad is too racy?