Feel free to hate GoDaddy for its cynical anti-puppy Super Bowl ad, which the company previewed yesterday and has already pulled from its planned airing on Sunday. After the company got burned on Twitter by animal rights groups and activists and Change.org petitioners, GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving tweeted, "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." But guess what? Next time you want to register a domain name, the chances are just a tiny bit greater that the first company that springs to mind will be GoDaddy.
The GoDaddy ad is a parody of Budweiser's treacly 2014 "Best Buds" Super Bowl ad, in which a puppy and a Clydesdale meet and are torn apart by the fates, only to be reunited, proving once again that love conquers all. (Budweiser has produced a sequel to that ad for Super Bowl XLIX.)
GoDaddy uses a similar formula for its ad, and even names the starring puppy "Buddy." A puppy falls out of a pickup truck and makes the long, difficult trek home, only to have its human companion (formerly known as a pet owner) say, "Look, it's Buddy! I'm so glad you made it home—because I just sold you on this website I just built with GoDaddy."
The SPCA, through its @animalrescuers Twitter handle, pointed out that the GoDaddy ad makes light of the cruelty of "inhumane breeding" and "puppy mills." If GoDaddy and its ad agency had considered the clout, passions and research acumen of animal rights advocates, they probably would have scratched this idea when it was first proposed. But in the battle for media attention in Super Bowl week, GoDaddy put points on the scoreboard.
Follow Steve Goldstein on Twitter: @SGoldsteinAI