Digital Disappointment: GoDaddy Superbowl Ad Grinds Gears

Posted by Katie Coombs on February 3,2015

A David and Goliath story of Big Media Budget vs. The Biggest Hearts on Social Media… a tale of missed opportunity and disappointment.

 I have two callings in life: marketing and dog rescue.  After watching GoDaddy’s attempt at humor with their  initial Superbowl puppy blunder, I was angry.  I’ll spare you my heated opinions of puppy mills, how unsafe it  is to carry animals in the bed of a pickup truck and the fifty other “issues” I had with their commercial. We all know it  was bad. We all know why. 

Griswold_houseWhen it comes to the interwebs, judgment is swift and merciless.  Social Media lit up like the Griswold house when Ellen finally flipped the switch…and flip we did, soapboxing to the peanut gallery, tweeting like mad and creating/sharing/signing petitions all over the place.

PUPPY-1GoDaddy heard the message and by nightfall, the ad had been pulled. It was time for GoDaddy to handle the fallout from their major marketing mistake. 


They had 4 days…



The Super Bowl and the weekend are over now.  I’ve hung up my cape, put away my flashy leotard and tights, and shed my dog-rescuer-super-hero alter-ego, in favor of a much more Mr. Rogers-esk cardigan and indoor shoes. 

The week has begun and I find myself reflecting on the whole ordeal.  GoDaddy had everything going for them.

  • platform – they started the puppy conversation
  • audience – lots of people pissed, everyone is watching. 
  • opportunity – reinvent the brand, begin to build trust, stand for something, make people feel something

I was hopeful... 

I wanted GoDaddy to change the commercial.  Highlight dog rescue.  Instead of making it back to the breeder, the happy ending (and huge win) would have happened when the pup is picked up by a rescue, taken for a vet check, then a similar ending: “… I just received an adoption application for you on this website I built with GoDaddy.”

This would have been simple and unapologetic way to turn a loss into a win by shedding light on a very real problem. A topic that is closely tied to people’s hearts…their pets.  This small gesture would have been big.  I’d have changed my opinion. I’d have become a promoter.

Alas, I was disappointed (although not shocked).

The new ad paints their target buyer persona as a young business owner, making sacrifices.  He’s a guy who misses the Superbowl because he’s hard at work.  He’s serious and he’s committed – he’s a grown-up. 

Historically, GoDaddy has not presented their brand in a very serious light.  Using sex and sensationalism, juvenile humor – it works when your target buyer is in the “dick and fart joke” chapter of their life. When potential buyers are making major decisions like choosing a vendor with whom to trust their website and ultimately their livelihood, immaturity might not be the best tactic.

The new ad was ok.  I was underwhelmed. They played it safe.

The Social Media storm made a difference, but it only made the problem go away.

GoDaddy, I wanted better things for you.  I was optimistic and geared up to change my opinion of your company – after all, I’m in your industry and fall into your buyer persona.  I wanted this blog to have a different ending.  I wanted to feel something.  Aaah well, there's always next year.  


To be continued...

Topics: Blogging, Inbound Marketing