Ad Space – The ‘Homeward Bound’ Remake No One Asked For

You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Product:

The Promotion:

The Pitch:
For the heartless opportunist in all of you!

Sentimentality is one of the most powerful tools in the advertiser’s arsenal. And few things hit people right in the sentiment like an adorable puppy finding its way back to its owner. That was the strategy Budweiser took for their Super Bowl advertising in 2014, as seen here.

Well, has always been pretty far from sentimental in their advertising, but they have always had a knack for grabbing attention via controversy. So in 2015, they decided to mock Budweiser’s sentimental puppy commercials with their own Super Bowl ad that follows much the same model, then takes a hard swerve into unsentimental at the end, all in the name of laughs.

I’ll admit, “Ship ’em out!” made me guffaw.

But in this case, GoDaddy courted too much controversy for their own good. Before the ad could air at the 2015 Super Bowl, it was leaked online, and there was outrage. See, there are a lot of dog breeders out there who do not take good care of their dogs, prizing quantity over quality, and drawing all sorts of animal abuse controversies; these are known as “puppy mills”. While the dog seller in the ad isn’t portrayed as using these abusive practices, the deliberately unsentimental portrayal of the dog/owner relationship caused many viewers’ minds to go in that direction.

Backlash was so intense, GoDaddy opted, at the last minute, not to air the ad. And I don’t even want to guess what a scrapped Super Bowl ad slot must cost.

But, y’know, I still think it’s better than the Budweiser ads, just ’cause it actually advertises the product. Like, unless Clydesdale horses immediately make you think of Bud, I’m not sure how those ads are supposed to help sell beer.