GoDaddy pulls puppy Super Bowl ad amid complaints

The fate of GoDaddy's puppy raised hackles.
The fate of GoDaddy's puppy raised hackles.

A spot intended to parody Budweiser's puppy theme drew fire from animal lovers

GoDaddy on Tuesday night pulled its Super Bowl ad after a controversy about its possible support of inhumane "puppy mills."

The Web host said it has a gentler, kinder replacement ad in the wings.

The spot, which debuted Tuesday morning on the "Today" show, was intended to parody Budweiser’s popular "Puppy Love" spot. However, the young golden retriever in GoDaddy’s version (created by Barton F. Graf) comes home only to learn it is being sold online.

The ironic twist raised the ire of viewers concerned about the treatment of animals and sparked a petition, while the SPCA tweeted its displeasure with the hashtag #GoDaddyPuppy.

According to an online statement from GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving, "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. …

"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."

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