Web hosting company GoDaddy on Tuesday unveiled a 30-second ad that was slotted for Sunday's Super Bowl — and they got a lot of attention for it, just not the kind they likely anticipated.
The "Journey Home" spot starred a golden retrieve puppy that attempted to find its way home after falling out of a pickup truck's bed. Upon making its way to a barn, the puppy runs into the arms of its owner.
"I'm so glad you made it home!" the owner says in the ad. "Because I just sold you on this website I built with GoDaddy. Ship him out!"
That scene ignited a firestorm of controversy from animal lovers who noted that dogs purchased over the Internet often are the product of puppy mills.
Uniting under the hashtag "#GoDaddyPuppy," activists skewered the company. Even the SPCA joined in to hammer GoDaddy.
If you can buy a puppy online and have it shipped to you the next day, it's likely you're supporting inhumane breeding. #GoDaddyPuppy— The SPCA (@animalrescuers)January 27, 2015
"If you can buy a puppy online and have it shipped to you the next day, it's likely you're supporting inhumane breeding. #GoDadddyPuppy," the animal rescue organization tweeted out.
GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving later announced on Twitter that the company "clearly missed the mark" and would "not air" the ad.
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
In a statement he elaborated further, saying the company heard the criticism "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," Iriving said.
"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," the CEO added.
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter