GoDaddy Pulls Puppy Super Bowl Ad After Backlash — WATCH COMMERCIAL HERE
GoDaddy has pulled its Super Bowl XLIX ad with Danica Patrick less than 24 hours after its release, following thousands of complaints that the commercial promotes puppy mills. Watch the clip below.
The website hosting service released its 2015 commercial, called “Journey Home,” early Tuesday, showcasing a golden retriever puppy named Buddy falling off a truck and traveling a long journey to make its way home. When the dog finally arrives, the pooch is warmly greeted by its owner, who is ecstatic to see the canine returned… because she just sold him online. At the end, the owner yells, “Ship ’em out!” and the pup is driven away by Danica Patrick, who frequently appears in GoDaddy’s Super Bowl ads. See photo above, and the full video below.
Animal activists immediately likened the ad’s story to the buying and selling done by puppy mills, which often treat dogs inhumanely. A Change.org petition garnered more than 40,000 signatures, complaining, “Animal rights are no laughing matter and to portray them as such is cruel and irresponsible.” A California chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals tweeted Tuesday afternoon, “If you can buy a puppy online and have it shipped to you the next day, it’s likely you’re supporting inhumane breeding. #GoDaddyPuppy” The message was received by GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving, who announced in a reply sent Tuesday evening that the ad would be pulled.
“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,” he replied in a tweet. Irving further wrote to another Twitter detractor that Buddy “came to us from a reputable, loving breeder — just as the ad shows,” and argued, “Sell or adopt, in 2015 both ventures need to be online.” Still, Irving acknowledged, “I hear you & we’ll change course today. Our goal is fun & edgy — never to promote something negative.”
In a long explanation, titled “We’re Listening, Message Received,” later posted on GoDaddy’s blog, Irving said they had hoped the ad would “increase awareness” that small businesses of all kinds can have a successful online presence. “However, we underestimated the emotional response,” wrote Irving. “And we heard that loud and clear.” The executive went on to confirm the clip will not air during the Super Bowl,” but noted, “You’ll still see us in the Big Game this year, and we hope it makes you laugh.” Irving also said that Buddy is now the company’s “Chief Companion Officer,” and “lives permanently with one of our longtime employees.”
Despite the decision not to move forward the commercial, PETA still had harsh words for GoDaddy, saying in a statement, “GoDaddy’s now-yanked commercial showed that anyone who sells a dog online is a callous jerk. PETA liked that about the ad. The sale of animals online and from pet stores and breeders should be roundly condemned, and it was today. GoDaddy did the right thing by swiftly promoting adoption. PETA’s message is that when you buy a dog from a pet store or a breeder, a dog in an animal shelter dies.” Watch the 30-second ad below, and tell us what you think of the controversy.