godaddy-puppy-pulled-hed-2015
A scene from the GoDaddy ad.

The case of GoDaddy’s puppy advertisement

The television advertisement

The trade press article

 

What were the objectives of the advertisement (from the brand’s perspective)?

The GoDaddy ad was attempting to create an awareness of the brand, which is in the cognitive realm on Belch and Belch’s hierarchy of effects scale (Pickton & Broderick 2005, p. 131).

Who was the intended audience?

The intended audience was small business owners who could create their own website without possessing sophisticated IT skills (#GoDaddy 2015).

Why was a controversial approach chosen?

The GoDaddy ad attempted to use humour as its appeal, in the hope of cutting through the “clutter” of  the SuperBowl and aiding retention of the message (Clow & Baack 2012, p. 179).

How effective is the advertisement?

The advertisement was memorable. The controversy continued to be talked about long after its screening. A swift public relations response to feedback minimised damage to brand image (Monloss 2015).

How would you improve the advertisement?

The ad creates uses the common advertising trope of destabilisation to unsettle viewers and make them think (McQuarrie & Mick 1996 in van Mulken 2003). I would retain the first scenes, then surprise viewers with the realisation the puppy was heading, not home, but to a butcher’s shop where it joins its mothers and siblings sitting on their haunches, drooling at the window. The butcher, who has a GoDaddy site, says “I see you brought your whole family today, Suzie”. A voice-over says: “Building a website is easy – just follow your nose on GoDaddy.”

Based on the trade press article, what was the effect of the controversy and how could this impact the brand?

The ad’s preview was heavily criticised on social media. A Change.org petition was set up, accusing GoDaddy of encouraging puppy farming, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals weighed in. By afternoon, GoDaddy had pulled the ad and published an apology. The quick public relations exercise placated critics.

References

Clow, K & Baack, D 2012, ‘Advertising design: Theoretical frameworks and types of appeals’, in Integrated Marketing Communications, 3rd edn, Pearson, Frenchs Forest, Sydney, NSW, pp. 168-195.

#GoDaddy 2015, ‘GoDaddy journey home’, BrightCove, viewed 10 August 2016, http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid3222576336001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAAAEMe8RQ~,R8iUD_53FI8oumU8OTVt2hdMyPM6630E&bctid=4016100748001.

Monloss, K 2015, ‘GoDaddy pulls Super Bowl ad after complaints about ‘puppy mill’ humor. CEO says spot ‘missed the mark’ but the brand has a backup plan’, Adweek, January 27, viewed 10 August 2016, http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/godaddy-pulls-super-bowl-ad-after-complaints-about-puppy-mill-humor-162590.

Pickton, D & Broderick, A 2005, ‘Setting objectives, determining strategy and tactics’, in Integrated Marketing Communications, 3rd edn, Pearson, Frenchs Forest, Sydney, NSW, pp. 121-441.

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images
A scene from the Cadbury Picnic ad.

The case of the Cadbury Picnic ad

The television advertisement

The trade press article

What were the objectives of the advertisement (from the brand’s perspective)?

Cadbury is a mature brand which was seeking to create awareness of itself among a new generation of target audience, which places it on the cognitive scale of Belch & Belch’s hierarchy of effects (Pickton & Broderick, 2005, p.131).

Who was the intended audience?

Cadbury Picnic bars have been around since 1958, but the brand continually strives to create awareness among youth (A real meal 2010; Picnic bar 2016; Ward 2015).

Why was a controversial approach chosen?

Parent company Mondelez says it wanted to show how people crave certain foods at certain times of day “in a humorous manner”. The humorous appeal to audiences was that they should obey their cravings (Ward 2016).

d) How effective is the advertisement?

The advertisement does get the message across that cravings need satisfying but the race of the actor is a distraction to the message. Also, the abnormal physiology of the ad is upsetting, particularly to people with speech impediments, according to the complainant (Ward 2016).

How would you improve the advertisement?

The ad would have worked better without the distraction of an ethnic minority actor and special effects that distorted normal human function. Perhaps the subject matter could have been an auctioneer, because audiences already accept that auctioneers speak quickly – in fact they are renowned for doing so.

Based on the trade press article, what was the effect of the controversy and how could this impact the brand?

The ad was taken off air, even before the Board’s ruling, to minimise accusations of racial vilification (Ward 2016).

References

A real meal, 2010, Marketing, viewed 10 August 2016, https://www.marketingmag.com.au/hubs-c/arealmeal/.

Pickton D & Broderick A 2005, ‘Setting objectives, determining strategy and tactics’, in Integrated Marketing Communications, 3rd edn, Pearson, Frenchs Forest, Sydney, NSW, pp. 121-441.

Picnic bar 2016, Cadbury, viewed 10 August 2016, https://www.cadbury.com.au/products/chocolate-bars/picnic-bar.aspx.

Ward M 2015, ‘Cadbury targets singles market signing up its ‘deliciously ugly’ Picnic bar to Tinder’, Mumbrella, 6 October, viewed 10 August 2016, https://mumbrella.com.au/cadbury-targets-singles-market-signing-up-its-deliciously-ugly-picnic-bar-to-tinder-322739.

Ward M 2016, ‘Cadbury Picnic ad banned by ad watchdog for negative portrayal of Indian man’, Mumbrella, 8 August, viewed 8 August 2016, https://mumbrella.com.au/cadbury-picnic-ad-banned-ad-watchdog-negative-portrayal-indian-man-386416.

Water S 2016, ‘Cadbury Picnic 2016 ad’, YouTube, 3 July, viewed 10 August 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZwHy4ThlV4.

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