GoDaddy is once again making headlines for its Super Bowl ads. Two years after it aired a polarizing commercial featuring supermodel Bar Refaeli making out with a tech geek, the Internet domain company is causing a stir with what was supposed to be its 2015 spot, which appears to parody Anheuser-Busch's popular puppy-themed ads for Budweiser.
Like the beer maker's highly anticipated "Lost Dog" commercial for Super Bowl XLIX, GoDaddy's 30-second spot features an adorable little pup who loses his way. When he finally makes it home, his owner is thrilled -- because she just sold him online using a website she built with GoDaddy.
Viewers immediately reacted to the commercial online -- and not very well. While some thought the twist ending was funny, others said it made light of puppy mills. There's even a Change.org petition calling for the commercial to be removed; as of Tuesday evening, it had been signed by more than 33,000 people.
"Whether or not this was meant to be satirical, it's offensive," the petition states. "Essentially, Go Daddy is encouraging private breeding/puppy mills while shelter animals wait patiently for their forever homes or worse -- to be euthanized...Animal rights are no laughing matter and to portray them as such as cruel and irresponsible."
GoDaddy, for its part, took the complaints seriously. Amid the backlash on Tuesday, Jan. 27, CEO Blake Irving tweeted that the ad would be pulled.
Thank you @animalrescuers for the candid feedback. What should have been a fun and funny ad clearly missed the mark and we will not air it.
— Blake Irving (@Blakei) January 27, 2015
The company also used its official Twitter account to respond to several individuals online, assuring each one that the dog in the ad, Buddy, had been adopted and was part of the GoDaddy family. The tweets stressed GoDaddy's support of animal rights and no-kill shelters, and included a link to a second video (which has since been made private) that was created as a companion to the main ad. In it, Danica Patrick urges viewers to adopt from their local shelter or rescue organization.