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GoDaddy Puppy Super Bowl Ad Wasn't a Total Loss, Says Mod Girl Marketing

GoDaddy ignited a controversy among animal rights activists with their yanked 2015 Super Bowl ad. According to Mod Girl Marketing’s Mandy McEwen, this “social media event” offers eight essential takeaways for advertisers.


San Diego, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/30/2015 -- Every once in a while marketers do what Upton Sinclair describes as "aiming for the public's heart and hitting them in the stomach." This year, website building company GoDaddy did just that by teasing a Super Bowl spot featuring a golden retriever who falls off the back of a truck and goes on an epic journey back home, only to find that he has been sold online.

Animal rights activists lashed out on their social media accounts and created a petition to pull the spot that garnered 40,000 signatures overnight. GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving promptly pulled the ad, issued a heartfelt apology, and released a spot featuring Danica Patrick promoting animal adoption.

Mandy McEwen, a seasoned marketer with Mod Girl Marketing, used the "social media event" as the basis for her blog post this week at

"GoDaddy is no stranger to controversy," says McEwen, "but even so, we were totally shocked that they had missed the mark so bad! The incident really shows what sway social media has over what businesses say and do these days."

The GoDaddy ad was designed to poke fun at marketers' obsession with cute, cuddly animals like puppies, she adds. Budweiser, for instance, is rumored to air an adorable ad about a lost puppy whose "best bud" comes to the rescue.

Controversial satire will win some and lose some, but ultimately, it has been a good thing for a brand like GoDaddy. Their "Perfect Match" ad from 2013 featuring a nerd locking lips with a supermodel was criticized as "objectifying women" and was hated by audiences 3-to-1, but it led to the best sales day in GoDaddy history. The company is on track to earn $5 billion a year, so clearly the controversy hasn't hurt their bottom line.

In a recent blog post, Mandy McEwen mentions eight valuable takeaways for marketers, including:

1. Know what the competition is doing.
2. The Internet is powerful!
3. Use multiple Internet channels to save face.
4. Word travels fast online, so be prepared to respond quickly.
5. Fearless risk-taking is all part of business.
6. Emotional storytelling is the sweet spot for marketers.
7. "Failure" isn't always bad for business.
8. Testing ads can save a lot of money.

She goes into greater detail on each of these points

"Yeah, they missed their target and it stung a little," McEwen said, "but it's not the end of the world. At least GoDaddy didn't have to shell out $4.5 million to learn the error of their ways! The backlash opens the door of opportunity for them to parody themselves in the future and 'own the controversy' – like Kim Kardashian did in the new T-Mobile ads."

She continues, "As marketers can't second-guess every move we make; otherwise, there'd be no memorable advertising. We need to tell a story and make it emotional, but when things go horribly wrong, we also need to have system in place that allows us to harness the power of social media for damage control."

Mod Girl Marketing is a full-service consulting and digital marketing firm that helps businesses stay ahead of the curve, get their branding messages out to the public, and achieve a more robust online presence. The company also works with other marketers to handle overflow and additional white label services. Mandy McEwen invites interested parties to contact her directly for more information.

About Mod Girl Marketing
Mod Girl Marketing is a full-service, boutique online marketing firm that provides effective search engine optimization, social media management, digital branding, marketing and design services to a variety of businesses. From coast to coast, Mod Girl Marketing has helped numerous businesses transform their digital presence from bland to brilliant. Contact Mod Girl Marketing at 800-388-7732 or by email at Follow Mod Girl Marketing on Twitter for a fresh flow of Internet marketing ideas.