Every year, domain registration and website hosting company GoDaddy puts out an attention-getting Superbowl commercial which is usually pretty bad, especially compared to some of the clever commercials for other brands. In 2013 the GoDaddy commercial featured supermodel Bar Refeali making out with a geeky guy, complete with gross smacking sounds. Last year, they had a CGI bodybuilder version of Danica Patrick running with a bunch of other bodybuilders to a spray tanning place.
This year, GoDaddy planned a commercial that was like a spoof of all the schmaltzy animal commercials. It featured a sweet fluffy Golden Retriever puppy falling off a truck, fighting its way home through hill and dale and ending up back at his owner’s warm barn – only to be told he was being sold online through a GoDaddy site. It was an emotionally manipulative commercial that also seemed to reference puppy mills. Multiple people and advocacy groups complained, a petition was started and GoDaddy pulled the commercial. Here’s more, thanks to US Magazine:
Viewers immediately reacted to the commercial online — and not very well. While some thought the twist ending was funny, others said it made light of puppy mills. There’s even a Change.org petition calling for the commercial to be removed; as of Tuesday evening, it had been signed by more than 33,000 people.
“Whether or not this was meant to be satirical, it’s offensive,” the petition states. “Essentially, Go Daddy is encouraging private breeding/puppy mills while shelter animals wait patiently for their forever homes or worse — to be euthanized…Animal rights are no laughing matter and to portray them as such as cruel and irresponsible.”
For their part, GoDaddy has pulled the commercial, apologized and admitted that they made a mistake. US Magazine points us to this blog post and tweet from CEO Blake Irving, which acknowledges the criticism of the ad.
Thank you @animalrescuers for the candid feedback. What should have been a fun and funny ad clearly missed the mark and we will not air it.
— Blake Irving (@Blakei) January 27, 2015
In his blog, Irving also reassures everyone that Buddy has been adopted by a GoDaddy employee and that he is their Chief Companion Officer. Prior to the uproar over this commercial, they even put out a press release about Buddy’s new role. They also stated that he was well cared for on the set of the commercial.
The thing is, this wasn’t the only commercial that GoDaddy had planned for the Super Bowl. They had another companion commercial featuring Danica Patrick and Buddy in which Patrick urged people to adopt shelter dogs. So while this original commercial was definitely tone deaf, they were planning to balance it out by encouraging people to adopt abandoned pets. I think they did the right thing by pulling the ad, though. It was obnoxious, but I have to admit that it was funny. I would like to see more ads spoofing other ads. They shouldn’t joke about putting animals in danger, though. No one should ever mess with puppies or kittens except to give them treats and toys.