Amazing how fast a controversy can spin itself into a maelstrom these days, no? This time yesterday, the world was just getting its first look at the long-anticipated GoDaddy.com Super Bowl commercial “Journey Home.” The company had released teasers and tidbits and hints about the ad for weeks, complete with production stills of Danica Patrick and a contest to name the adorable little puppy who stars in the spot.
But when little Buddy’s big debut came, it was not to laughs and oohs and aahs, but rather to outrage from across the States (and even across the globe, if you track some of the comments we’ve seen!). People decried the commercial, and the company behind it, as heartless and myopic for their using the plight of a small dog and the operations of a seemingly callous dog breeder to make a joke.
All that outpouring of outrage was heard loud and clear, all the way up to the corner office of GoDaddy.com. You can see the ad “Journey Home” elsewhere on www.superbowl-commercials.org – today we’re all about the apology and response from company CEO Blake Irving. This is pretty unprecedented stuff, folks, especially when it happens this fast!
Mr. Irving wrote:
“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.
We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress over the past two years, advancing the GoDaddy brand as a company that cares a great deal about small business and is in their corner to help them succeed. People increasingly know who we are, what we do and who we do it for. At the end of the day, our purpose at GoDaddy is to help small businesses around the world build a successful online presence. We hoped our ad would increase awareness of that cause. 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.
Finally, rest assured, Buddy came to us from a reputable and loving breeder in California. He’s now part of the GoDaddy family as our Chief Companion Officer and he lives permanently with one of our longtime employees.”