GoDaddy Yanks Super Bowl Ad After Animal Lovers Howl

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It was a joke that fell flat. So after animal lovers howled, GoDaddy has pulled its Super Bowl commercial where a little, lost pup braves the elements, finds its way home, only to be sold online and shipped off to a new home. Danica Patrick, GoDaddy's celebrity spokeswoman, drives the delivery truck.

Blake Irving, GoDaddy CEO, said in a statement, "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."

You could have heard the protest on Mars. Animal rights activists and animal lovers complained that the ad seemed to support puppy mills, which often connect with buyers online. Twitter slammers even had their own hashtag: #GoDaddyPuppy.

Here's what some had to say: So less than 24 hours after the ad debuted on morning shows Tuesday, Irving pulled it from the Super Bowl commercial lineup. PETA, for one, is delighted.

"Go Daddy's now-yanked commercial showed that anyone who sells a dog online is a callous jerk," said PETA director Colleen O'Brien in an emailed statement. "The sale of animals online and from pet stores and breeders should be roundly condemned, and it was today. GoDaddy did the right thing by swiftly promoting adoption."

"Journey Home," the ad starring a 9-week-old golden retriever named Buddy, was GoDaddy's latest spoof on the Super Bowl commercial genre. After lampooning sexpot commercials in years past, GoDaddy decided to turn the tug-your-heartstrings puppy commercial on its fuzzy little ear.

Take that, Budweiser, which reportedly also has a lost puppy ad in this year's big game, and "won" the Super Bowl commercial war last year with it commercial about the love fest between a puppy and a Clydesdale horse.

"It's a twist on a convention, tongue-in-cheek," said Elizabeth Driscoll, vice president of GoDaddy, an Internet domain registrar and Web host company. "It's all in fun to make the point that we build websites to help [small businesses] sell stuff online."

Well, back to the drawing board. Irving said, "You'll still see us in the Big Game this year, and we hope it makes you laugh." He didn't reveal anything more about the commercial.

So you know, the real-life Buddy "came to us from a reputable and loving breeder in California," Irving said. He has a good home with a GoDaddy employee, serves as a therapy dog for GoDaddy employees in Scottsdale, and has the title "Chief Companion Officer."

"He's got an office with a doggie door and fire hydrant," Driscoll said. "He's got a great life."
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