ESPN Pulls Infidelity Matchmaking Ads, President Screams Double Standard

Monday, August 04, 2008


I guess it's a natural occurrence when you're a global company, but some days it amazes me just how much ESPN is actually in the regular news. The latest "controversy" the "Leader" finds themselves mired in is with matchmaking company Ashley Madison. ESPN has asked its local affiliates to pull an ad for the dating website that matches potential adulterers with people willing to help them cheat on their spouse....

Amy Phillips, a spokeswoman for ESPN -- which is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News -- said that the sports channel has asked its local affiliates to stop running an ad for AshleyMadison.com, a Web site that connects would-be cheaters with potential mates.

Phillips would not say why the channel decided to pull the ad.

Noel Biderman, the president of AshleyMadison.com, who learned of ESPN's decision from an ABCNews.com reporter, said he felt that "a double standard" had been applied to his company with respect to advertising.

He said ESPN is "inundated" with advertisements for alcohol, a product "responsible for health issues and ultimately death."

"Somehow I'm immoral and everything else is OK," he said.

AshleyMadison.com boasts a membership of more than 2.2 million. For $49, members can create profiles and send e-mails and instant messages to each other. A slogan on the company's homepage reads "Life is Short. Have an Affair."

The 35-second commercial shows an unhappy-looking man lying in bed alongside a snoring woman. As he gets up and leaves the bedroom, a narrator's voice declares, "Most of us can recover from a one-night stand with the wrong woman, but not when it's every night for the rest of our lives. Isn't it time for AshleyMadison.com?"
This is certainly an obvious choice for ESPN to make, and the alcohol angle is just asinine, so good for them. Other channels like Spike TV have pulled the ads as well, but you can still see the spots on Larry King Live and Anderson 360 in the near future as CNN hasn't decided to nix them or not yet. Good times America!

Extramarital Affair Ad Gets Axed (ABC News)

15 Comments:

Wait a minute, there is an actual company that promotes infidelity? And they are buying up air-time? Bizarre.

GMoney said...
Aug 4, 2008, 5:06:00 PM  

pardon me while i change my browser's homepage.

-dan

-dan said...
Aug 4, 2008, 5:22:00 PM  

ESPN was wrong for pulling these ads. To stay relevant, they need to be more edgy.

/Melchior

Anonymous said...
Aug 4, 2008, 5:48:00 PM  

I still haven't gotten past the fact there is actually a site that promotes extramarital affairs. Wow.

"Life is short. Have an affair." That doesn't even make sense.

jfein said...
Aug 4, 2008, 6:11:00 PM  

Obviously, this douche has never heard of divorce. Or never getting married in the first place.

Anonymous said...
Aug 4, 2008, 6:22:00 PM  

Seriously.

Aug 4, 2008, 6:23:00 PM  

An obvious point, but this is clearly one of those instances in which the whole point of the "commercial" was not to get them run, but to get them cancelled, and in so doing get them run plenty of times for free. I mean, I've seen these billboards or whatever on about 20 different websites today, and if the commercials had just run without comment, I probably would still have not heard of AshleyMadison.com.

Dave J. said...
Aug 4, 2008, 7:59:00 PM  

according to their site they have over 2.3 million users

aside from the fact that i dont believe that for one second, its shit like this that reminds me why im against the concept of marraige

Mike Georger said...
Aug 4, 2008, 9:39:00 PM  

As long as ESPN keeps the unfunny new Fantasy football ads with the Geico Caveman playing golf...

Tainted Alligator Souffle said...
Aug 5, 2008, 12:45:00 AM  

Wow. Actually running those commercials in the first place seems like it should be a first-ballot entry into the Bad Idea Hall of Fame.

SpartanDan said...
Aug 5, 2008, 1:43:00 AM  

Any PR is good PR. I mean, those racist panda Super Bowl commercials got people talking, didn't it?

/Sales Genie Ad Wizards

Anonymous said...
Aug 5, 2008, 2:01:00 AM  

Good to see the moral police out in force!

The author of the website has a point: its ok to sell alcohol which leads to thousands of deaths each year in this country, but promoting infidelity isn't.

Interesting to see the country's overactive repulsion to all things sexual is still in full effect!

Brian said...
Aug 5, 2008, 5:36:00 AM  

brian.. that's an awful comparison. Better comparisons would be alcohol ads(which do contain the phrase "please drink responsibly" now), and ads for dating websites. This affair promoting ad would be more akin to an ad promoting drunk driving.

Anonymous said...
Aug 5, 2008, 8:07:00 AM  

Wonderful (snark snark)

Anonymous said...
Aug 5, 2008, 11:14:00 AM  

I say run the ads. If I have to sit through those Viagra ads (and who from the Elvis estate gave the green light for those?), then who cares if a company wants to run an ad for infidelity? Big deal.

MikeT said...
Aug 5, 2008, 8:56:00 PM  

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