For Super Bowl XLIX, GoDaddy planned on releasing its “Journey Home” commercial during the big game. But after the message failed to resonate with its audience in a positive way, a wave of criticism from dog advocates and animal rights groups forced the web hosting site to take it down.
GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving took to his Twitter promising the critics of the ad that GoDaddy “will not air” the commercial.
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
The ad on YouTube received roughly 800 negative comments before the video was taken down.
The ad agency, Barton F. Graf 9000, created the 30-second Super Bowl ad featuring a golden retriever puppy finding its way home after falling out of a truck. The pup goes on to only discover that its owner used GoDaddy to set up a website to promptly sell the dog to a new owner.
Some believe the ad was aimed at satirizing Budweiser’s #BestBuds Super Bowl commercial. Budweiser’s highly anticipated “Lost Dog” commercial is tough to beat and has over 55 million YouTube views and counting.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) asked GoDaddy and their followers if they found humor in “puppy mills.” The #GoDaddyPuppy hashtag has quickly became a rallying point for critics. Gerry Graf, who runs the agency that made the spot, declined to comment on his failed Super Bowl commercial attempt.
The SPCA had no problem taking to Twitter to show their support for animal rights.
If purchasing a pup, always meet the parents, get vet records, see where he was raised, research breeder. #GoDaddyPuppy
The SPCA (@animalrescuers) January 27, 2015
Colleen O’Brien, a PETA director, provided some insight on the situation. In a statement to AdWeek, O’Brien stated:
“Go Daddy’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.”
A Change.org petition was launched by animal rights advocate, Helena Yurcho, to eradicate GoDaddy’s ad and quickly received over 40,000 signatures Tuesday afternoon. Along with the petition, Yurcho wrote:
“Essentially, GoDaddy 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.”
Animal breeders attempted to defend their industry but neglected to support the GoDaddy’s Super Bowl ad, because they believed that it was sending the wrong message about animal breeders. One anonymous breeder stated:
“Proper breeders make sure their puppies go to good homes! They do not send them to just anyone not knowing how or where the dog will be treated, etc. A good dog breeder loves their puppy enough to take them back and keep them if they can’t find a good situation.”
A response finally arrived from Irving along with anexplanation to the GoDaddy blog. According to AdWeek, Irving said the company will still air something during the telecast.
All in all, it is a good thing that the ad is being pulled. Irving has recently responded to everything, saying, “We are pulling the ad from the Super Bowl. You’ll still see us in the Big Game this year, and we hope it makes you laugh.”