GoDaddy Pulls Super Bowl Ad After Outrage

Scottsdale, Arizona-based GoDaddy--which in recent years has been shifting away from its controversial image with a new focus on small businesses--has just pulled its Super Bowl advertising, after a major misstep in its rebranding efforts. GoDaddy released its Super Bowl commercial "Lost Dog" Tuesday, which features a cute puppy falling out of a truck, and eventually finding its way home--only to be sold online by its owner, who put up a website selling puppies on GoDaddy. The company was under widespread fire from animal rights groups over the spot. The ad had originally been planned as a sendup of the highly rated Budweiser "The Journey Home" ad from last year. GoDaddy said it would not run the ad during the Super Bowl. The controversy comes after several years of effort in moving away from the company's reputation for racy, controversial ads, which CEO Blake Irving said the firm was looking to "speaks inclusively" to its customer base, after the acquisition of GoDaddy by a set of private equity investors. GoDaddy had initially rocketed into public consciousness with a very risque ad aired in 2005.