NBC allegedly pulled regional Super Bowl XLIX spot over ‘Blue Balls’ joke
An auto insurance company who paid $500,000 to air a commercial during Super Bowl XLIX finds itself scrambling days before the game after NBC allegedly put the kibosh on the company’s 15-second commercials over joke involving “blue balls.”
Cure Auto Insurance intended to air the commercials in the New York and Philadelphia markets before halftime. The spots reportedly were approved by the local network affiliates but the standards department at NBC, who will broadcast Sunday’s game, intervened.
The theme of the commercials revolves around a lighthearted riff on Deflategate. In one spot, a talking blue ball makes reference to the New England Patriots’ ball deflation scandal before opining, “At least they weren’t blue,” the blue ball quips. “I mean, that may have stolen my spotlight” before a “#NoMoreBlueBalls” hashtag appears on the screen.
The second commercial involves an apology from the talking blue ball over the hashtag in the previous spot and a correction of said hashtag so it reads, “#CureForBlueBalls.”
“Sorry if we offended any other blue balls out there,” the talking blue ball sarcastically states.
Eric Poe, Cure’s chief operating officer, told Huffington Post that network officials expressed apprehension over the spot, in particular the concern that parents would be put in the uncomfortable position of having to explain to their children the meaning of “blue balls.”
“We felt that the mere fact that our mascot was truly a blue ball should make it an easy way to explain to a child,” Poe said. “Unfortunately, they weren’t persuaded, so we had to scramble under short notice to rack our creative brains in order to work around their objections.”
Poe added that the company has come up with a new spot after spending $50,000 on production for the first set of ads.
“We have a new script that I feel may actually be even funnier that we have submitted to them tonight and hope someone at the network will have the ‘balls’ to allow us to air that spot,” Poe cracked.
HuffPo reached out to NBC Sports for comment and a rep told them that Cure Auto Insurance is “not a national buyer, so if someone [pulled the spots], it wasn’t us.”