Dispatches from Pops: GoDaddy Misses Again
If you have not already seen it, GoDaddy has recently pre-released its commercial for the Super Bowl, and there has been quite a flap around it. Animal rights groups are crying fowl over the ad, which depicts a puppy falling out of the open bed of a pickup, and through a series of struggles finally makes its way home. The owner is thrilled to see the puppy return to its home, but the "joke" comes in when they explain it is not because they were heartsick over the loss of the dog, but because they had just sold the brave but ultimately doomed pooch on a GoDaddy-created website. They then unceremoniously place the puppy in a box, and load the box into a delivery van.
I can see why people are upset. I am sure the idea is to riff on the decades of heartstring-pulling commercials from Budweiser and others. Using animals to make drinking their brew or consuming their product seem like the granola thing to do is a tried and true way to get your commercial talked about and shared on social media. Undoubtedly, an ad exec for GoDaddy came up with the idea, and pitched the theory that the twist of selling and shipping the dog within moments of its return would really be a gut-busting, Facebook-sharing, water cooler-talking way to create buzz.
One of the theories of humor surrounds creating the biggest laugh by pushing the very limit of social acceptability. This idea was fabulously examined in the movie The Aristocrats. And GoDaddy has made pushing the limits of acceptability a regular business practice - remember the first Super Bowl ads for GoDaddy were so overtly sexual that many thought they should not have been aired in the first place.
What GoDaddy forgot is that we have seen far too much press around the abuse, maltreatment, and neglect of animals. Cruelty to animals has become a common thing on the evening news or online news sites, and there are few rational and well-adjusted people who are not impacted by the stories.
Having worked with the Central Oklahoma Humane Society for so many years, I have become a true believer in adopting rather than buying an animal. But selling a dog online might not by itself be enough to turn my stomach.
Letting dogs ride unprotected in the back of a pickup is ignorant and dangerous, but living in Oklahoma we see a lot of farm dogs in the back of a truck.
But the idea of an animal being no more than a profit center, and only being excited because the people in the commercial were about to lose income, showed the sale was more valuable to them than the life of the animal itself. And to put the puppy IN A BOX? That is not just unfunny, it is a portrayal of truly terrible people. And if truly terrible people use GoDaddy, then I most certainly do not want to.
I asked Sauerkraut about it, thinking she would have some valuable input about animal rights. Her response to watching the commercial: "Look pops! A box! I love boxes!"
UPDATE: GoDaddy pulled the ad. Hooray! ...but I still will not use GoDaddy for their lack of understanding and common sense.