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GoDaddy pulls Super Bowl commercial due to puppy controversy

Publicity stunt or just another offensive GoDaddy ad?

GoDaddy pulled its “Journey Home” Super Bowl commercial, after drawing the ire of dog lovers and animal rights groups with the ad’s pet-commerce message.

The ad features a puppy golden retriever that falls out of a truck and after a long journey finally arrives at a red barn where a woman greets him:

-“Look, it’s Buddy! I’m so glad you made it home!”
-“Because I just sold you on this website I built with GoDaddy,” she continues.
-“Ship him out!”

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According to CNBC, a Change.org petition to remove the ad “racked up over 42,000 signatures” on the same day the ad debuted on the TODAY show.

GoDaddy’s CEO, Blake Irving, released a statement explaining the company’s decision to pull the ad.

“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,” he said. “The responses were emotional and direct. We are pulling the ad from the Super Bowl.”

Mr. Irving also said that GoDaddy will run another ad during Sunday’s Super Bowl game. “You’ll still see us in the Big Game this year, and we hope it makes you laugh.”

After generating this much controversy, Mr. Irving seems to be the one who will be having the last laugh.

GoDaddy has a reputation for running controversial and offensive ads and “Jouney Home” seems to be a parody of Budweiser’s “Lost Dog,” which is set to run on this year’s Super Bowl. (Check it out below.)

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Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” is a follow-up to last year’s Super Bowl ad “Puppy Love,” which became an instant sensation.

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Here is GoDaddy’s CEO Blake Irving’s full statement: “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’s been adopted permanently by one of our longtime employees.”

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