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For an extra $10, this $9 million Liam Neeson Super Bowl ad could have been the perfect campaign

I've been pondering in recent weeks what would be a worthy subject for my debut post on our new blog. I've had a few ideas but it wasn't until I saw Liam Neeson's brilliant appearance in the super bowl commercial for the Clash of Clans video game that my writer's block was cleared.

The makers of Clash of Clans splashed out approximately US $9 million for a 60 second TV commercial slot during the 2015 Super Bowl but for an additional $10 could have registered the domain name for Liam Neeson's memorable gaming pseudonym.

I’d be dirty on my agency for not including these actions in their planning, or perhaps the fault lies with the brand manager and their internal processes

As the commercial begins we see Neeson's virtual village raided and his defenses crumble to his online opponent. Neeson launches into a venomous discourse about exacting revenge over his presumably much younger opponent (@BigBuffetBoy85) and as the camera pans out we see him standing in the middle of a cafe waiting for his order of takeaway scones, only to be interrupted from his vengeful mutterings when his order is called out. He ends with "you will regret the day you crossed @AngryNeeson52 (his gaming pseudonym)".  It's a hugely amusing and entertaining 60 seconds.

Being the digital nutter I am I immediately jumped on Twitter to see what lay behind twitter.com/angryneeson52 only to discover that it belonged to a young Nicholas Corrigan and not a video gaming conglomerate. I then typed angryneeson52.com which brought back a parked domain displaying ads. If I was the brand manager for Clash of Clans I'd be dirty on my agency for not including these actions in their planning, or perhaps the fault lies with the brand manager and their internal processes.

Imagine this 18 year old's surprise when he successfully changed his Twitter handle to @angryneeson52 within seconds of the super bowl commercial being aired.

Imagine this 18 year old's surprise when he successfully changed his Twitter handle to @angryneeson52 within seconds of the super bowl commercial being aired.

What would have cost the brand $10 to register will likely cost thousands to buy back if they want to use it in future.

What would have cost the brand $10 to register will likely cost thousands to buy back if they want to use it in future.


It reminded me of instances when I have been asked to register domain names for products after a press release has been sent out. Social media profile "handles" are free and depending on the country code, a domain name can cost anywhere from US $10 to a couple of hundred dollars so with a little bit of foresight and planning, a product or brand can be protected relatively cheaply which is much less painful (and cheaper) than having to approach third parties through informal or legal channels to reclaim something that should never have been lost. I have been through the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) domain name dispute resolution process and it something I never want to go through again, due to its expense (US $5,000 from memory not including your own legal fees to prepare your submission) and the time it takes for the process to run its course. Which is why, as a domain name professional, I am a pedant when it comes to having a comprehensive 'defensive' domain names strategy to try to avoid self-inflicted crises.

a product or brand can be protected relatively cheaply which is much less painful (and cheaper) than having to approach third parties through informal or legal channels to reclaim something that should never have been lost

Perhaps no harm was done in the case of Clash of Clans unless, of course, Neeson plans to reprise his role in future commercials and refer to his moniker each time, making his pseudonym almost as memorable as his role.

But this is a timely reminder to brands to put in place policies requiring internal teams to register domain names and social media profile handles before publicly unveiling a product or campaign. Good planning and governance may go unnoticed but everybody knows when something is overlooked.

How can a free-to-play game afford a US $9 million 60 second super bowl TV slot we hear you say? #inapppurchases

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