GoDaddy pulls their puppy-selling Super Bowl commercial after complaints

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 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.”

[US Magazine]

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.

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.

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75 Responses to “GoDaddy pulls their puppy-selling Super Bowl commercial after complaints”

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  1. Kitten says:

    I’m sorry but PUPPIES!!!!!!!!!

    I was about to get angry until I read that they had another commercial encouraging people to adopt shelter pups. I still think it’s good they pulled it though, because even though I adore puppy anything, the commercial just wasn’t funny.

    The puppies are just so damn cute though. Sigh.

    • mimif says:

      Hey, how was surviving THUNDER SNOW?

    • Kitten says:

      Dude…my car is BURIED under 2 1/2 feet of snow.
      I didn’t even leave my house at all yesterday but I ate a chocolate laced with ‘shrooms….
      …the cats were like magical, amazing aliens. I watched a lot of Food Network and started to think that Ina Garten was a tyrannical monster, obsessed with making perfect food.

      It was a weird day, man.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Now I’m bummed that it missed us except for a minor dusting. That sounds like fun.

      • mimif says:

        Lol Kitten, you never disappoint.

      • Kiddo says:

        HAHA. You should have had a dessert Hardy.

      • Kitten says:

        The weirdest part was texting on my iphone–the letters were like, raised up from the screen…it was so hard to focus on actually typing because “oh, cool letters!!!”

        I got really freaked out by the plows and the bulldozers removing all the snow–they were super-loud and scary-looking. At one point, I thought they were part of a giant robot army coming to take my cats away.

        Anyway, I don’t think I’ll trip alone again for a while.

        You guys should come over next time and we’ll hang with the cats and eat Dessert Hardys.

      • mimif says:

        Haha by yourself! Omg, eff that noise. Last time I ate mushrooms alone, I got naked in the woods and let mosquitos bite me just to be “part of their experience”. NO. Much more fun with someone else so you can get completely freaked out by their pores & nose hairs and spend the next 6 hours in separate rooms communicating with secret knocks and hieroglyphs scribbled on post its and passed under the door.

      • Kitten says:

        Well, I did have the cats for company.
        Isn’t it weird how people look like giant-pored monsters (Ina looked like she was made out of Play Dough) and cats look like furry balls of awesome?

        Ha ha…come over and bring your Pixie Bobs. We’ll have a cat party and stare at each other wide-eyed for a few hours.

        I’m not sure you can click this link but if you can, you’ll get an idea of what was happening:

      • FLORC says:

        2 feet of snow. It was disappointing.

        You reminded me of Brian on Family Guy when there was a big storm outside he did way too much and had a trippy time.
        Friends don’t let friend’s trip alone. You should always use the buddy system.

        And your kitten is adorable! Though scottish folds always look mad with their ears the way they are. Ready to scratch.

      • mimif says:

        Haaa! Yeah you don’t need to be high AF to see that those SF are 100% pure plush awesomeness. 🙂

      • V4Real says:

        I was at a house party one time and my friend’s wife and another female friend of mine took mushrooms. The wife thought we, the non mushroom users had morphed into Lions while the friend thought we were tigers and we were going to eat her. We had to separate them and we even locked one in a closet. I was in disbelief that shrooms could have that effect on people. Us ecstasy pill poppers were like dem bitches be crazy. Now hearing Kitten’s admission, I believe it to be true.

        Till this day I’m afraid to mess with the shrooms because I already have so much sick crap floating around in my head I’m afraid what might come to light. But Kitten I would take that chance to go on a fantastic voyage trip with you.

      • Shambles says:

        Kitten, it sounds like Fear and Meowing in Las Vegas. I had to come tell you I just got my first kitten!! His name is Zen and I’m forever changed.

      • mimif says:

        *Just to clarify, I don’t think there is anything wrong with taking psychedelics by oneself, I’ve done it three thousand and ninety two hundred times, and I turned out perfectly normal. I just think it’s way more fun when you can make fun of the other people for looking like giant-pored Play-Doh monsters. 😉

      • Kitten says:

        @Florc-they do tend to look much p*ssier in pictures. If you met them in person, you’d be shocked at how docile they are.

        @V4Real-I’ve had hallucinogenic candy in my cabinets since last summer when a friend gave them to me. I was holding off precisely because I was worried that it would be weird….I was reassured by friends that had partaken in this batch that these candies were just the right level of crazy so that made me feel a bit more brave.
        Two PB cups to pack and I only took one so…it was ok. Would have been more fun if I had people to go play in the snow with but parking in my neighborhood was an impossibility with the parking ban in effect.

        @Shambles- Kittens and puppies are the best things in life, but trust me when I tell you that you’ll only grow to love Zen more as he/she gets older. Animals are so bomb.

        And I agree with mimif and all that tripping alone is not cool, not cool at all.

  2. scout says:

    That’s a terrible way to promote their site and business. Good that they pulled out this stupid ad. Poor animals. Puppy mills are horrible.

    • mimif says:

      Puppy mills and backyard breeders need to be regulated, as in make it a criminal offense to operate. Ugh I can’t even start with this, it breaks my heart. The way we dismiss animals is revolting to me.

      • Lindy79 says:

        HERE HERE!!

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I completely agree. It says so many bad things about us.

      • Michelle says:

        They really should be regulated and animal abuse should receive harsher punishments. About 5 months ago, my husband and I saw someone abandon two lab mix puppies at the end of our street (we live on a dead end street). The poor dears were so matted and filthy and scared. We took them in and to the vet, intending just to find them permanent homes, but fell in love with them ourselves. Mattie & Daisy are now about 9 months old and such cuddle bugs. It’s been wonderful to see them blossom and gain confidence. When I think of what they went through, I just want to horsewhip the person myself.

      • mimif says:

        Bless your heart, I love happy endings. 🙂

      • Macey says:

        Yes they do but I doubt it will ever happen. I posted below that I live in what some ppl consider the puppy mill capital and there is very little to no regulation on who can be a breeder. The back yard breeders are just as bad as the mills and they’re a dime a dozen too. No one does anything even when you call in a complaint. Theres a well known shoddy Mennonite puppy operation here and they’ve been sited many times and finally shut down or so we thought, only to have the same ppl re-open another one in another family members name. same conditions going on.

      • doofus says:

        Michelle, bless you and your hubby for your kindness.

        those two poochies will be loyal to you FOREVER. dogs don’t forget who rescued them or where they came from.

      • FLORC says:

        1st dog was a puppy mill pup. He was the best dog! He acted out in the beginning, but turned into the most loyal and smart dog. I miss him.
        Rescues are the best.

        Congrats on your cuddle bugs!

      • homegrrrl says:

        My friend from Pennsylvania said the Amish are the wost puppy mill offenders. Could this be true?!

    • bluhare says:

      Thank you. I think so too.

    • Pinky says:

      What are you to expect from the company whose founder kills elephants for sport? DON’T Google it.

    • Erinn says:

      Every year that GoDaddy does something stupid/awful I feel a bit more secure in my job. I work for one of their bigger competitors doing web development/design. Every time I get a pissed off customer telling me ‘Well I can just go to GoDaddy” I can’t help but laugh. Because between the super bowl commercials that are always gross/degrading, and their CEO’s elephant shooting, they always manage to give themselves such bad press.

    • laura in LA says:

      There are so many things wrong with that ad, I can’t believe that given the numbers of people involved in making it that they actually thought this was “funny”. The GoDaddy CEO claims they’re trying to change the company culture and public perception, but how could he possibly think this was the way to do it?

      No matter, their reputation precedes itself with all the bad PR from elephant trophy hunting, sexism and misogyny of past ads, that most people I know dumped their services long ago. It speaks to their company culture and tells how much they “care” about customers.

      Remember all those internet companies from the 90s and their Superbowl ads? No? Neither do I. Well, that was money wasted. GoDaddy may still be big now, but they’ll be here today, gone tomorrow.

  3. OSTONE says:

    Their marketing department is a hot mess.

    • Mixtape says:

      Well, they got all the viral attention they wanted (GoDaddy has never been one to worry too much about whether the attention is negative or positive) and didn’t have to pay millions to air the ad, so maybe those ad guys are high-fiving each other right now? But I agree that, from just a good taste perspective, they have been a hot mess for years.

  4. Lexie says:

    No disrespect to puppies, but where’s the petition and outrage when women are the ones being degraded by GoDaddy?

    • bluhare says:

      I, for one, am not upset that puppies have their own lobby. About time.

      As for degraded women, we have a voice and we should use it.

    • QQ says:

      That is All I came to say: We have to live and Giggle with their other awful sh!tty t&a Commercials every year but THIS was a Line too far eh?

      FWIW the Puppy looks miffed to be in this crap

    • Joy says:

      I can only assume because the women in the ads have the free will to be in them or not be in them, where the puppy has no choice. Also a woman in a low cut top doesn’t encourage inhumane breeding tactics of said woman.

    • Kiddo says:

      Not discounting your POV that women shouldn’t be degraded, but they do have more of an ability to consent and set up their own narrative of how they should be treated. Puppies can’t agree to an ad or write an editorial against puppy mills.

  5. Kiddo says:

    1. I thought GoDaddy went under.
    2. Cute puppeh
    3. But BUBBLES THE KID IS EVERYTHING, puppeh belly, the end.

  6. Loopy says:

    I swear the things that some people find the time to complain about.

    • mimif says:

      Yeah because it’s funny to promote shitty breeding practices that lead to an endless cycle of pain and misery.

      • Macey says:

        Amen to This^^^

        I live in the puppy mill capital and I can tell you it is a very, very, real issue. Its not just the mills but also the backyard breeders who came about after that think they’re ‘different’ than the mills but really just the same. It just kills me b/c we are so over run with unwanted dogs and yet they keep breeding and breeding just to make a buck. The worst is seeing the un-adoptable ones being put up for auction at our local farmers markets. yes..that real and happens every week and they’re NOT being auctioned off as pets, I dont even want to know what happens to them after that.

      • mimif says:

        Wait. You mean auctioning off cats and dogs?

      • TheOnlyDee says:

        Macey, I wonder if you live by me because we have a huge puppy mill problem. My dad has reported tons of mills when he has gone to farms and spotted them. Unfortunately, it’s mostly Amish farms. He said what he has seen is so horrible that he will never forget it. There are dogs piled in crates with crates upon crates stacked on top of each other, dogs sitting in their own feces with matted fur, dogs that were so emaciated he didn’t think they would survive etc. My aunt foolishly bought a puppy from one of these farms, and the poor dog was crawling with fleas, inbred, and ended up being deaf.

      • Macey says:

        @ mimif

        No cats (they just shoot them) but dogs… unfortunately yes, along with their horses that can no longer perform the work they need. Horses will usually go to slaughter, dogs may well too but I know some in the past were bought for ‘researchers’ but nothing legitimate and its equally sick.

        @ Theonlydee

        sounds like we may be neighbors of some sort. Are you in Pa? The Amish/Mennonite mills here are the worst. Those sights are never forgotten and sadly still exist. You complain and its like they make excuses for them like “well they’re Amish they dont know any better” blah blah. sorry but that doesnt make it right. I think ppl would be appalled at what really goes on. I wish they would do a show around that instead of that ridiculously bogus Amish Mafia

      • TheOnlyDee says:

        Yes, I’m from Lancaster. It is appalling and I am surprised more people aren’t aware of it.

      • laura in LA says:

        Macey and TheOnlyDee, you have my sympathies.

      • Macey says:

        @ The only dee (howdy neighbor)

        Me too!! 🙁
        How did you and I both know we live in the same area just based on the puppies mill and auctions?? how sad is that?
        That said, I think you’re the 1st person from my area that I ever talked to on here.
        Nice to know Im not alone in my disgust with this stuff. I almost can’t wait to move just so I dont have to see it so much.

        and Thank you Laura in LA, you have no clue how hard it is to see some of the stuff we do, especially the horses in weather like we have..its just horrid. and yet ppl talk about them as if they’re as pure as the driven snow but if you knew what the amish/menn. animals suffer thru you would never want to see one again.

    • BaeOnBoard says:

      Agreed…it’s a freaking commercial. Someone who would adopt an animal from a mill is already a pretty terrible person and is not going to do so just because they saw this ridiculous ad! How people think this is encouraging mills is so damn stupid. So many more useful things could be done with those 33,000 signatures as well as the time spent thus far on such a ridiculous cause. When are people going to grow up and find something more useful to get so bent out of shape over?

      • laura in LA says:

        Whoa, please allow me to clarify “adopt” vs “buy”….

        Someone who pays money directly to a breeder is buying a puppy; but if that person goes to a shelter or rescue and pays a donation fee, this is adopting.

        Although I assume this is what you meant anyway, I just want others to know that legitimate shelters and rescues don’t profit from doing this. And when someone adopts, that fee should be a pretty standard amount with shots and spay/neuter included.

        Many shelters and rescues also end up taking in the pups from backyard breeders and puppymillers who dump them there when they don’t sell. And vetcare for sick, especially underage, puppies can be verrry expensive, why 501c3 rescues have to fundraise as well.

        That’s all! 😉

      • laura in LA says:

        By the way, BaeOnBoard, how do you know that people like me don’t care about other issues?

        And what are you doing with your time that’s so useful, besides posting your complaints here? Please tell me what causes you’re actively working on today.

        Otherwise, you have no business telling others what to do here.

  7. lucy2 says:

    I’m always amazed at what some advertising execs think is a good idea.

  8. maryb says:

    The CEO of GoDaddy killed an elephant on a hunting trip. He is a nasty, evil man.

  9. Sam says:

    The truly terrible thing about the puppy mills is that they also are a source of animals for biomedical research. Google “Class B animal dealers” and prepare to be horrified. So when you support breeding, keep in mind you might be supporting animal research:

  10. Bichon says:

    Go-Daddy usually tries to appeal to adolescent males. They consistently have stupid and tasteless commercials.

  11. roxy750 says:

    It’s not illegal or anything just a shit&y commercial. Real shit&y.

  12. CatJ says:

    The ad they have where the woman tells everyone to “Suck IT” makes me shabby. How Rude!!!
    I would never use their product, nor support a business that did.

    • laura in LA says:

      It’s not the first time they’ve offended people, but I hope this one will be the last. People are just finally fed up with this company.

  13. Christin says:

    All but one dog I ever had was a rescue. I wanted a Labrador and ended up going out of state to get him, because every person I knew who bought a Lab puppy in our area never had the dog live past six years old.

    My Lab boy is almost 10 now, and I am glad we got him. I like to let my pets be themselves, and he probably would not have been fond of hunting or a lot of water activity. I worry about dogs and cats who are bought and then don’t live up to expectations, just like all shelter / homeless animals who desperately need good homes.

    I have found several kittens and young cats who were dumped, and I have taken them in, gotten them spayed/neutered, etc. The need is so great, it’s become a big part of my life.

  14. Ashtau says:

    I’m sorry….I’m as big a puppy lover as anyone. I adopted my mutt 8 years ago and he’s my fur baby (I know…ick!). I’m also vegan and definitely NOT in favor of puppy mills. However, what happened to our sense of satire? I feel like everyone is taking this a little too seriously. I’m glad it’s bringing attention to the issue of animal rights and the puppy mill industry, but honestly, this seems like it went way too far.

    • laura in LA says:

      But who are they satirizing here? There are so many other ways they could’ve done this ad effectively.

      If so many people missed the “joke”, maybe that’s because it wasn’t funny.

  15. Abigail says:

    That ad is awful. I just adopted an abandoned and painfully thin German Shepherd rescue dog. She is lying at my feet right now, her nose touching my shoe. Dogs are so desperate to fit in and be with a family; how dare an ad make fun of that loyalty and devotion?