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GoDaddy's puppy-mocking Super Bowl ad in the dog house

Technically Incorrect: Laughing at the Budweiser ads that feature cuddly puppies, the traditionally bawdy GoDaddy released a Super Bowl ad this morning. And then: trouble. Big trouble.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


godog.jpg
First he was in a GoDaddy ad. Now Buddy the dog is a GoDaddy executive. That's social mobility. GoDaddy screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

A dog isn't just for Christmas. It's for Super Bowl too. And some brands succeed with dog ads better than others.

As the nation's corporations vie for a nanosecond of even distracted attention, they often stoop to risible, incongruous depths -- anything to get a dog to sell their wares.

Take last year, for example, when Budweiser offered the tale of a cuddly puppy who had a peculiarly intimate relationship with a horse. This year, it's said to be featuring a puppy again. Because puppies and beer always go together.

Meanwhile, Internet service provider GoDaddy has generally used the Super Bowl to pander to the baser animalistic spirits of male users. Last year, though, it tried something a little different.

Perhaps that didn't work, because this year GoDaddy went down Budweiser's way. Before suddenly turning back like a mailman chased by a thousand barking hounds.

This morning on the "Today" show, it launched a Super Bowl ad featuring a puppy (video above). Indeed, so cuddly was this puppy that you might even think GoDaddy was mimicking Budweiser.

This tale did have similar strains to Bud's. There's a cuddly puppy. It's lost. But it's a feisty cuddly puppy. It has grit. It can cope with the grime of life. Finally, it gets home and leaps into its owner's arms.

It's at that point that the nice lady says: "Look, it's Buddy. I'm so glad you made it home. Because I just sold you on this website I built with GoDaddy."

It seems that some didn't find it funny. (I did, but then I sold my heart long ago on a website I built with GoBeelzebub.)

GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving took to his company's blog to lament: "We underestimated the emotional response. And we heard that loud and clear."

Irving added that the ad would be replaced by another ad that will make people laugh. Yes, even those who didn't laugh at this one.

A sample of the emotional responses can be seen below his post. One came from Trish Pittman of the Labrador Rescue of Nova Scotia: "Not only have you shown lack of courtesy to reputable breeders but you have spit in the face of rescue. The ad projects irresponsible pet ownership and handling from the opening."

You might sniff that many Super Bowl ads that historically featured anything from monkeys to giraffes to camels rarely projected responsible pet ownership.

You might also imagine that one or two people would have suspected that there wouldn't be universal guffawing at this puppy ad. You might imagine that one or two of them work at GoDaddy and for its ad team. It's odd that they seem not to have prepared for that eventuality. Unless, of course, this controversy was part of the strategy all along.

Still, there's no need to worry about Buddy. He may be receiving less exposure now that the ad is dead, but in real life he received a promotion. Yes, to Chief Companion Officer. That's quite a leap from Puppy Sold Online.