What's Fox TV Got Against Ashley Madison's Super Bowl Ad?

DALLAS—Super Bowls have always been known for their interesting and provocative ads, but one that won't be seen during this year's nationwide telecast of the event is the offering from infidelity dating site AshleyMadison.com.

According to AshleyMadison.com founder Noel Biderman, Fox Television, which is broadcasting the game, sent the company a rejection letter which unhelpfully stated that, "Standards and Practices has deemed the Ashley Madison spot is not acceptable to air on FOX."

The rejection is particularly galling since Fox also rejected the ad the company tried to place two years ago, which featured the company's famous tagline, "Life is Short. Have an Affair." That line is missing from this year's commercial, which has been described as "much more tame" than 2009's ad, which found airplay only on the NBC affiliate in Houston, Texas.

However, Biderman stated that, "A number of affiliates have already reached out to us about this year's ad," and he's instructed his marketing people to see if they can place the ad on CTV, a Canadian television network which is broadcasting the Super Bowl in Canada.

It's unclear why the ad was rejected, though Biderman has speculated that it's because the ad prominently features Vivid star Savanna Samson.

"Now that so many adult film stars, including Jenna Jameson and Sasha Gray, have crossed over into the mainstream, it's disappointing that the NFL continues to discriminate against them," Biderman lamented.

But the ad is fairly unconventional in any case. It features Samson walking into what appears to be a company meeting and writing on the whiteboard multiple times, "My Husband Is A Filthy Cheater." When a blond woman in the room (possibly Ashley herself) asks if Savanna's all right, she responds, "No. I just found out my husband's cheating on me." What follows is a montage of people kissing each other, or about to, as well as a momentary image of a couple in the back seat of a car looking surprised; Savanna moving in to kiss the blond woman, a man kissing the head of a large beaver, and another kissing someone in a human-size bunny costume. At the end, Savanna is engulfed in a puff of smoke, which dissipates to reveal that the actress's business suit has become a pink bikini—and not even a skimpy one.

Why any of that would be considered offensive is unclear, although Fox undoubtedly remembers that after every Super Bowl telecast, the ultra-conservative Parents Television Council has lambasted the network for airing various sexy ads—and of course was the group most responsible for complaining to the FCC about Janet Jackson's half-second nipple reveal during the 2003 game. That controversy is still working its way through the court system.

So check in with your local affiliate to see if it will run the Ashley Madison ad—even though it's likely that everyone you know will email you a link to its YouTube incarnation.