The man behind the most talked-about Super Bowl commercial, which features a buxom young woman whose flimsy top repeatedly comes undone while testifying before “broadcast censorship hearings,” founded a software company that produced one of the most popular Bible-study programs on the market.
Super Bowl ad for GoDaddy.com included wardrobe malfunction.
Bob Parsons is the founder and president of GoDaddy.com, the domain-name registration company that spent $2.4 million on the controversial ad that poked fun at last year’s Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” scandal and parodied television content regulation.
According to Parsons’ bio on his blog, BobParsons.com, he founded Parsons Technology in the basement of his home.
“Parsons Technology went on to be quite successful,” writes Parsons. “The company grew to almost 1,000 employees and had a 4 percent share of the North American software market.”
Bob Parsons (photo: Domain Name Journal).
Part of that market was in selling Bible software to Christians, including QuickVerse, a popular Bible-study program that was actually written by Parsons’ vice president, Craig Rairdin. The product includes a Bible verse search engine, Bible commentaries, theology books, study notes, a Bible atlas, word-study guides and other resources.
Pam Sheppard, a columnist with Christianity Today, praises QuickVerse and credits Parsons.
“Thanks to the initial work of Bob Parsons and to continuing advances in technology, churches, pastors, nonprofit organizations and individuals are able to preach, teach and reach more efficiently using software products from FindEx.com,” Sheppard writes.
She notes that after successfully launching Money Counts, a rival to the Quicken money management program, Parsons started the Parsons Church Division in the 1980s, which was acquired by FindEx.com from The Learning Company, a division of Mattel Inc., in 1999.
Says a promotional site for the software: “QuickVerse software simplifies biblical research, allowing the user to view multiple reference materials, including Bibles, dictionaries, commentaries and encyclopedias side-by-side on the computer screen.”
Also offered by Parsons was a two-CD product called “America’s Christian Heritage,” which included “American Quotations” and “The Dictionary of Christianity in America.”
Says Parsons on his blog: “After several years in the software business, I saw the writing on the wall for the shrink wrap software business. It was going to go away. So I sold the company to Intuit, moved to Arizona and, as per my deal with Intuit, retired for one year. It was both an exciting and difficult time; one where I was doing great financially, but also a period where my wife and I went our separate ways. I soon realized that retirement wasn’t for me, so in 1997 I founded what is now Go Daddy and went to work again.”
While Parsons made an excellent living selling Bible resources to Christians, some of them no doubt fundamentalist Christians, the man in charge of the steamy Super Bowl commercial, ad-agency executive Paul Cappelli, came close to skewering fundamentalists in the spot.
“Initially, the panel was going to be made up of old men dressed as nuns,” Cappelli told AdWeek in describing the creative process leading to the ad. “I just wanted the image to be people who were out-of-touch religious fundamentalists.”
The ad reportedly came about when Parsons told Cappelli: “I would love to have a beautiful woman with a nice ample chest with my company name across her shirt.”
As WorldNetDaily reported, Parsons’ ad was supposed to run a second time near the end of the Super Bowl, but, after seeing the first showing of the spot, NFL officials contacted Fox and directed the network not to run it again.
Parsons decried the move, calling it “censorship.”
“I think it was the fact it was a parody on censorship, and the NFL really doesn’t want people thinking about censorship,” Parsons told Phoenix TV station KPHO. “The end result was they censored a parody on censorship.”
GoDaddy.com claims to be “very profitable” and is ranked as the eighth fastest-growing technology company in 2004 among the Inc. 500.