GoDaddy announced Tuesday that it would not air an ad slated to run during the Super Bowl after an early preview on the “Today Show” spawned a wave of criticism on social media.
The Internet domain registrar, known for its zany Super Bowl ads, never fails to deliver water cooler fodder the Monday after the big game. But this time they may have gone too far.
The 30-second spot titled “Journey Home” features a puppy that has been separated from its family after falling off a pickup truck. The adorable dog endures an arduous journey home to reunite with his owners, who are thrilled to see their lost puppy.
"Look! It's Buddy! I'm so glad you made it home," says a woman as he jumps into her arms and licks her face, "because I just sold you on this website I built with GoDaddy."
The backlash was immediate. Animal lovers, activists, and rescue orgnizations like SPCA and The Human Society blasted the ad on Twitter and Facebook, accusing GoDaddy of condoning the online sale of puppies which are often connected to puppy mills.
On Tuesday evening, GoDaddy's CEO Blake Irving released a statement on the company's website announcing the decision to pull the commercial from Sunday's game and YouTube:
"This morning we previewed GoDaddy's Super Bowl spot on a popular talk show, and shortly after a controversy started to swirl about Buddy, our puppy, being sold online. The responses were emotional and direct. Many people urged us not to run the ad…However, we underestimated the emotional response. And we heard that loud and clear. The net result? 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."