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GoDaddy Super Bowl Ad Prompts Ire, But Gets Lots of Views

If you’re one of many who happen to subscribe to the point of view that says any publicity is good publicity, the most effective way to advertise your business may well be to create some sort of controversy.

And if you can do so with a Super Bowl commercial that you intend to run during the big game, but release early, all the better.

At least, that may well end up being the case for GoDaddy, which announced it will pull its commercial featuring an adorable Golden Retriever puppy. (Yes, I realize that’s redundant: all Golden Retriever puppies are adorable.)

In this case, the spot opens with the puppy in the back of a truck bed, looking out at the big world. The truck hits a big rock, and the puppy is bounced out of the truck. (No puppies, apparently, were harmed in the making of this special effect.)

The puppy gives a heart-melting whine, then sets off to find its way home.

Through sun and rain, this little guy makes his way to his owner’s barn, and when she sees him, she grabs him up and tells him how glad she is to see him because…

Well, you should just watch the spot:

The point of the spot — I shouldn’t have to point out — was that with GoDaddy, one can build a successful website.

That’s the only point of the spot.

Of course, animal rights activists, some of whom seem to lie in wait searching for anything they can turn into a controversy to further their agenda, decided to do so with this, turning the little puppy into a poster child for puppy mill operations.

To them, the spot wasn’t remotely funny.

They started a petition. They made a mountain out of the molehill, screaming all over social media at what a “tasteless” spot it was.

And in doing so, they encouraged more people to watch it.

I don’t know if, by the time the spot would have aired during the Super Bowl, it would have been seen by a number of people equal to the Super Bowl audience. But honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if that were the case.

Airing the spot during the Super Bowl would have been the icing on the cake.

By pulling the spot, it gives GoDaddy a new spot to be noticed, perhaps even anticipated by those who only watch the game for the commercials: “What will GoDaddy replace it with?”

GoDaddy gets two messages out there instead of just the one.

Congratulations, protesters: you’ve gotten them more attention, not less. Is that what they had in mind?

To be honest, the spot wasn’t that funny to me, either, but only because I felt sorry for the little puppy. Even so, I appreciated the comic irony of the spot.

I do not assume for a moment that GoDaddy is advocating animal cruelty or suggesting people shouldn’t adopt pets from animal shelters.

Because GoDaddy would have no reason to do so.

Yes, I feel sorry for that little puppy, until I imagine that it’s likely he’s going to a loving home and will be well taken care of, at which point it’s a happy ending for another animal desperately in need of a good home.


  1. Is it bad that I literally laughed out loud. Funny thing is I got my dog from a breeder and I bought him online. Although the real issue is why would she sell a puppy she didn’t have?

  2. Finally. A reasonable take on this whole thing.
    The commercial didn’t “promote” putting puppies in the back of trucks.
    The commercial didn’t encourage people to choose breeders over adoptions.
    The commercial wasn’t about puppy mills.
    Virtually everything people are upset about is absent from the ad.
    The reaction has been insanity.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.