Minutes after Go Daddy released its 2015 Super Bowl ad, an uproar ensued on social media. Negative feedback from animal rights advocates caused the website building business to retract its ad.
The ad features Buddy, a lost golden retriever, who bounces out of the back of a truck. The ad shows the owner rejoicing when the puppy finds its way home, and then proceeds to sell the dog on a website made with Go Daddy. The last scene of the commercial shows the owner shipping the dog out; This unexpected conclusion sparked mass outrage. Go Daddy is used to its ads receiving attention for their somewhat scandalous material. However, Go Daddy did not expect the mass backlash it received for its Super Bowl ad.
Animal rights advocates used Go Daddy’s ad as a platform to advance awareness on the “disposable pet” culture and animal euthanization across America. The emotional responses sparked by the ad flooded social media with hashtags such as #NoDaddy. Threats of pulling business were made if Go Daddy didn’t take the ad down.
Go Daddy has been known to create ads that receive a response, good and bad, but never a response such as this time. Go Daddy’s usual tactic of trying to receive attention through whatever means possible backfired in this situation. The website building company found a line it could not cross. The social media fueled backlash in response to this Super Bowl ad supports the modern public relations concept that not all press is good press. Receiving attention and bringing recognition to your brand is a good thing, but there is such a thing as bringing negative attention to your brand. This ad is one that will go down in history and Go Daddy’s recovery efforts will have to be strong to make amends.
By Cindy Kirchner
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.