GoDaddy Pulls Super Bowl Ad Featuring Danica Patrick Amid Puppy Mill Complaints

godaddydanicaIf GoDaddy wanted to find out how people feel about puppy mills, well, it’s done that, at the cost of one of its intended Super Bowl ads. After a tease of the spot hit the web, featuring a lost puppy who finds his way back to Danica Patrick, the driver for an online puppy business, the public lashed out at GoDaddy through social media.

In the commercial, “Journey Home,” buddy the dog is thrown from the back of a truck and thus, embarks on a long journey to get back to his owner: Over the river, through the woods, across the train tracks, doused in rain and tossed by the tides of life, he finally makes it back to the farm.

“Oh look it’s Buddy!” says his, owner Gabby, holding him in her arms. “I’m so glad you made it home… because I just sold you on a website I built with GoDaddy.”

Cut to Buddy sitting in a van marked “Gabby’s Goldens,” Gabby yelling “Ship’em out!” and the van’s doors slamming shut, shutting a woeful looking Buddy in his box inside. There’s a brief shot of Danica Patrick behind the wheel at that moment, causing some fans to accuse her of supporting puppy mills as well.

The Chicago Tribune cites some of the angry tweets from people enraged at the ad:

@PettyFan42 tweeted, “@DanicaPatrick I highly suggest u tell Go Daddy not to air their Super Bowl ad.puppy mills are a horrific thing…#superbowlcommercials”

“@DanicaPatrick All the homeless dogs in shelters and u participate in a commercial exploiting selling puppies? #godaddysux#notfunnyorcute,” tweeted @Allisonag68.

@IamKEEMAN tweeted, “@DanicaPatrick saw the #GoDaddyPuppy commercial. You should be ashamed to be a part of this company. This is why so many dogs are homeless.”

GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving and the company tweeted out an apology post saying the company “underestimated the emotional response,” and said the ad would be pulled, and reassured viewers of Buddy’s current state.

WE’RE LISTENING, MESSAGE RECEIVED

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.

Watch the ad below: