In Canada, where toques can be a fashion statement, we have lots of ways to keep warm through the winter. AshleyMadison.com is the one we don’t like to talk about.
In case you’re not familiar (good for you!), Ashley Madison is the Toronto-based online dating site for adulterers, philanderers, two-timers and Eliot Spitzer wannabes. Started in 2002 by a college dropout, it’s massive, with more than 5 million anonymous members looking for quickies from married strangers.
Ashley Madison is equally renowned for its brazen advertising (“Life is short. Have an affair.”) and last week its proposed Super Bowl commercial was rejected by Fox-TV. You can view the Ashley Madison Super Bowl commercial above (and good luck trying to make sense of it!).
It’s arguable that AM owner Avid Life Media gets more reach from its rejected ads than it does for spots it pays for on late-night TV and in the back section of free weeklies. (Last year, AM proposed painting a Toronto streetcar with its logo and slogans, a media buy worth $1-million to the cash-strapped city. City hall nervously rejected the proposal but Ashley Madison got incredible front-page media exposure that didn’t cost a dime.) So don’t feel too sorry for them.
We’ll leave it to Camille Paglia and others to evaluate the long-term social impact of Ashley Madison, but few people would disagree that it’s subversive and amoral at best. Maybe it’s wrecking marriages and families, maybe not. Maybe it brings fleeting thrills to people who’ve had their share of misery, maybe not. Maybe its members are all going to hell, but they probably don’t care.
One thing is for sure: people don’t like talking about this publicly, and nobody admits to being one of those 5 million AM members. And this puts execs in charge of standards and practice for TV networks in a very tricky position: should you run prime-time commercial spots that make people squirm?
We’d like to hear what people think about this. Should Ashley Madison be allowed to run prime-time ads, during the Super Bowl or elsewhere …. like on The Good Wife, perhaps? Or Shameless?
You can vote on this below. Don’t worry – it’s anonymous!
Now, here’s another earlier Ashley Madison TV spot that was also rejected by TV networks: