Danica Patrick was strangely absent from the airwaves during this year’s Super Bowl, and the NASCAR driver says she wishes GoDaddy had never pulled the controversial advertisement that appeared to make reference to puppy mills.
As spokeswoman for the domain registering company, Danica has appeared in Super Bowl commercials for the last several years. But she missed out this year, when GoDaddy responded to an uproar from animal rights activists and pulled the ad it planned to show.
The ad, titled “Journey Home,” showed a lost golden retriever puppy named Buddy who found his way back home to a relieved owner. But viewers then see why the owner was so happy to have Buddy back home — she had already sold the puppy through a website created on GoDaddy.com.
The spot was panned by animal rights groups, which said it appeared to be making reference to puppy mills, where dogs are bred in often dangerous conditions. A petition for the GoDaddy Super Bowl commercial on Change.org also generated a lot of attention, including 42,000 signatures in a single day.
At NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway, Danica opened up about the controversy, saying she was disappointed in the decision to pull the ad.
“I was definitely disappointed I wasn’t in the Super Bowl for a commercial,” she said.
“But I was in a Super Bowl commercial. It just didn’t run.”
Danica added that she believes GoDaddy’s decision to stop the commercial itself may have been a publicity stunt.
“GoDaddy had every intention to run that commercial and I feel like I heard from a lot of people that it was like choreographed and it was planned and stuff,” said Patrick. “I think that’s so funny.”
Danica said she wasn’t surprised it was pulled, saying, “people have opinions about everything, especially when you get into that world of animal rights or tree rights or whatever rights.”
But even as she defended the ad, Danica Patrick made sure to note that she’s a dog lover herself. Danica said she wakes up at 1:45 a.m. to walk her dog, Dallas, who she happened to buy online.