In what appears to be an attempt to stay controversial and relevant, GoDaddy’s new Super Bowl advertisement took a stab at Budweiser’s Puppy Love Super Bowl commercial that stole our hearts last year.
In the one-minute spot, Puppy Love depicted the journeys of a Labrador retriever puppy that keeps returning home to his Clydesdale friend, (more here). Conversely, GoDaddy’s Journey Home features a golden retriever puppy falling off the back of a truck and making a Milo-and-Otis length journey home. When the puppy returns home the owner, (or, breeder), is over the moon … because she just sold him on her GoDaddy powered website. The commercial ends with one last glance at the puppy before he is carted off in a van.
GoDaddy and Bob Parsons made a name by staying edgy in commercials, keeping the brand ‘real’ to small business owners and entrepreneurs. Most of the commercials were provocative, including a slightly clothed Danica Patrick or Candice Michelle, or implied nudity and (insert another attractive woman here).
Amidst leadership changes and an ongoing re-brand from the steamy, shower scenes and car wash babe commercials, GoDaddy forgot their audience.
What do Americans love, (especially the 25-55 male demographic Bob targeted)? Beautiful women, check! Race cars, check! Nudity, check! Beer, check! Sports, check! Puppies, check! Dark comedies, crying dogs and err, online puppy mill-esque references, uncheck!
The internet erupted and Change.org released this statement and a petition that quickly racked up more than 42,000 e-signatures and ultimately resulted in the spot being pulled: Whether or not this was meant to be satirical, it’s offensive. Essentially, Go Daddy is encouraging private breeding/puppy mills while shelter animals wait patiently for their forever homes or worse – to be euthanized. They are also encouraging purchasing an animal online; the animal could be sold to someone who runs a fighting ring, someone who abuses animals, or to someone who cannot adequately care for the animal. Animal rights are no laughing matter and to portray them as such is cruel and irresponsible.”
GD’s Creative may be starting their long journey home. The ad has officially been pulled and numerous tweets have been published about the puppy’s real-life adoption. A video of Danica Patrick speaking into the camera was released on why pet adoption is so important.
Ironically, the company seems to be led by dog lovers. Since filming the commercial, Buddy has been adorably titled the company’s CCO (Chief Companion Officer).
None of this can immediately undo a parody gone wrong. However, those considering hauling their domain names and or business away because of an ad that fell flat should reconsider. I’m a GoDaddy customer, a former employee but first and foremost, I am a dog lover and I love GoDaddy.
I never loved the GoDaddy brand for the ads or the sex-sells-approach.
(My last doctor asked me an awkward amount of times if all the women working at GoDaddy went prancing around the break room in snug white tanks – NO.) Still not why I love GoDaddy:
- I love GoDaddy for all of the jobs they brought to the local Arizona economy while others outsourced jobs overseas.
- I love them for the millions in charity donations.
- I love the company for the way they made the internet accessible to all types of businesses, even those just starting out of a house like Parsons did; a business model truly built around the American dream.
- I love them for the legendary holiday parties where I once won an easy grand, and where employees at every level are still treated the way any business member wants to be treated once in a while; like a rockstar.
And of course, I still love GoDaddy today for the start the company gave me in corporate.