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GoDaddy.com parody of Budweiser puppy commercial an advertising misfire

Written by Maria Sciullo on .

GoDaddy.com has topped itself this time, offending thousands of people online days before the Super Bowl.

GoDaddy, an Internet domain registrar and Web hosting company, created a mean-spirited parody of Budweiser's feel-good Super Bowl spot that was sure to rankle viewers and keep the brand name trending.

It generated media buzz, all right, but now is dealing with the fallout.

A little background here: Budweiser debuted its 2015 ad on NBC's "Today" Tuesday morning. It featured a cute little puppy that winds up far from home when accidentally locked in the back of a truck (anyone here remember that episode of "Timmy and Lassie"?)

The puppy perseveres through storms and dark of night, and finally makes it home with the help of some horsey friends. Melted hearts all around.

In the GoDaddy version, the little fellow also bounds joyfully home. But "Buddy" is quickly shipped off as merchandise -- it's tough to tell if the owner is running a puppy mill or just your average backyard breeder. She used GoDaddy, of course, to build her business's web site.

No one can accuse GoDaddy of good taste in its previous Super Bowl attempts. Its commercials have been sexist and not particularly original, but they got people talking. This time, however, its ads made the mistake of underestimating how much we care for pets. 

"The Budweiser ad is adorable and builds on the Americana approach Bud has been using so successfully," said John Elisco of Pittsburgh-based Elisco Advertising's Creative Cafe. "GoDaddy’s parody is a massive miscalculation on how much people love animals and their pets. It made me wonder if GoDaddy remembered the public reaction to Michael Vick’s dog fighting."
 
After a Pennsylvania woman created an online petition to pull the ad online, more than 42,000 people responded. The decision by GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving was also hailed by PETA. "We underestimated the emotional response," Irving wrote on GoDaddy site. "And we heard that loud and clear."

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