Go Daddy previewed its Super Bowl ad today, but hours later decided to drop it amid a flood of criticism from dog lovers who said it was tasteless, mean-hearted and irresponsible.
The video of the ad was taken off YouTube, where hundreds of commenters had blasted it, including top officials of animal protection groups.
A back-up ad will be used during the 2015 Super Bowl, the company said.
The ad was intended to poke some fun at Budweiser’s puppy ads — both the highly acclaimed one that aired during last year’s Super Bowl, “Puppy Love,” and a follow-up ad that the beer company will during Sunday’s Super Bowl, called “Lost Dog.”
The 30-second Go Daddy ad featured a retriever puppy finding its way home after falling out of a truck, only to find its owner has used Go Daddy to set up a website that lets her promptly sell the dog to a new owner.
Many in the animal welfare community responded, pointing out that dogs purchased online often come from puppy mills. (For a sampling of their anger, check out hashtag #GoDaddyPuppy, or read the comments left on the YouTube page where the video itself has been deactivated.
The ad was made by Barton F. Graf 9000, but heads of the agency declined to comment.
GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving responded to the ad’s critics on Twitter this afternoon, vowing “we will not air it.”
Earlier in the day, though, Irving had defended the ad, according to AdWeek, saying, “Buddy was purchased from a reputable, loving breeder, just as the ad suggests. Sell or adopt, both need an online presence.”
Around 6:30 p.m., Irving posted a statement confirming the ad won’t run, and that another ad will be substituted.
“You’ll still see us in the Big Game this year, and we hope it makes you laugh,” he wrote.
The YouTube video was removed around the same time.
A petition launched on the website Change.org by animal rights advocate Helena Yurcho demanding the ad be pulled had more than 42,000 signatures by afternoon.
“Essentially, GoDaddy is encouraging private breeding/puppy mills while shelter animals wait patiently for their forever homes or worse—to be euthanized,” she wrote. “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.”
On YouTube, the clip received more than 800 comments, many of them negative. Dog breeders and animal rescuers alike were critical of the spot for sending a negative message.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 27th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2015, advertisement, animals, bad taste, budweiser, complaints, criticism, dogs, go daddy, humor, irresponsibility, lost puppy, online, petition, pets, pulled, puppy, puppy mills, satire, selling, super bowl, super bowl ad, websites
Budweiser’s new public service message encouraging responsible drinking lets a dog make the point:
“Next time you go out, be sure to make a plan to get home safely, because friends are waiting.”
Sure, they could have used a worried spouse, or a cute child, but somehow a dog drives the point home even better. Nobody waits for you like a dog does, and no one seems happier to see you come through the front door.
By using a dog, and making the ad’s ending happy, this public service message avoids becoming heavy-handed, sanctimonious, preachy and blatantly tear-jerking (unlike some of those PSA’s animal welfare organizations produce).
That, and being so on point, are what make it so effective.
In a decade of writing about dogs, and their people, I’ve had many people tell me how their dogs have changed their lives, and made their lives worth living. Some go so far to say their dog helped them move out of a criminal lifestyle or kept them from committing suicide. Dogs give us a reason to live, and a reason to live responsibly.
Dogs make us do the right thing.
Beer does the opposite.
Given alcohol is a factor in nearly a third of all traffic related deaths, there will be those who see some hypocrisy in a company simultaneously bombarding us with beer ads and telling us to drink responsibly.
Some accused the company of just that last week, when Anheuser-Busch, the official sponsor of the NFL season, issued its statement expressing concern about domestic abuse among NFL players, given alcohol and substance abuse play a role in nearly two out of three domestic violence cases, according to some studies.
“We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season,” Anheuser-Busch said in the statement — not directly threatening to end its $194 million relationship with the NFL, but, between the lines, raising that possibility. “We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and code.”
Both the domestic abuse statement and the responsible drinking PSA came out last week. The latter was posted on YouTube Friday.
Maybe Anheuser-Busch is becoming more socially conscious, or maybe it’s just buffing up its image.
Some may think Anheuser-Busch, both with its domestic violence statement and its responsible drinking PSA, is getting on a high horse it has no right to mount (Clydesdale, maybe?).
“How crazy is this?” Jon Stewart noted last week on The Daily Show. “A company that sells alcohol is the moral touchstone of the NFL.”
That’s one way to look at it: A beer company shouldn’t try to set our moral compass — and has no right to do so.
One could also say — given the social problems its products tend to spawn and exacerbate — that a beer company has every duty to take such actions, and produce such ads.
In any event, we’re glad they made this one, and we hope to see it on television at least as often as we do the Clydesdales.
(Woof in Advertising is an occasional feature on ohmidog! that looks at how dogs are used in advertising. For more Woof in Advertising posts, click here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 23rd, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, ad, advertising, anheuser busch, animals, bud, budweiser, commercial, dog, dogs, domestic violence, drinking, driving, drunk, drunk driving, friends are waiting, hypocrisy, marketing, media, national football league, nfl, pets, psa, public service annoucement, responsibility, responsible, woof in advertising
I predict this 60-second Budweiser commercial is going to cause more tears than any fumble, any interception, or even the final outcome of Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Called “Puppy Love,” the ad depicts a special friendship between a yellow lab puppy and a group of Clydesdales.
As the storyline goes, the puppy and the Clydesdales have become best of interspecies friends while residing at “Warm Springs Puppy Adoption Center.”
When his new owner finally gets him in the car and takes off, the Clydesdales stage a coup.
They chase after the car as the pup sadly looks back out the window. They block the car’s path, and the next thing we see is pup and Clydesdales happily trotting back to the farm.
It’s all set to the tune of “Let Her Go” by Passenger.
The ad was posted on YouTube four days before Super Bowl XLVIII, and in less than a day it was viewed by more than 4 million.
(WIA is an occasional feature in ohmidog! that looks at how dogs are used in advertising)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 30th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2014 super bowl, ad, adoption, ads, advertisements, advertising, animals, budweiser, clydesdales, commercials, dogs, dogs and horses, dogs in advertising, farm, friendship, heartwarming, horses and dogs, interspecies, labrador retriever, let her go, passenger, pets, puppy love, super bowl, super bowl 2014, super bowl XLVIII, video, warm springs puppy adoption center, woof in advertising, yellow lab