Newsjacking, Good Taste, and GoDaddy’s Image

Tip of the Week

I guess I still haven’t washed GoDaddy’s idiotic video out of my hair quite yet, even though I’ve already vented on Twitter and on LinkedIn about their outrageous video that was slated for airing on the Super Bowl—and then pulled after (surprise!) a backlash. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch below. But this is the elevator version:

A puppy is thrown from a truck. He valiantly finds his way home to his “family” only to be welcomed by a wicked-voiced human expressing happiness at the little guy’s return—because she’d already sold the dog online.

In my original rants I talked about what cretins these GoDaddy people must be—and there’s no doubt about it: they are. But this is idiocy wrapped in sinister strategy, one they’re clinging to like people without a creative bone in their bodies must do.

Why is this newsjacking?

Because GoDaddy’s marketing hacks know that the movement to end puppy mills is a big issue right now. So they decided it would be “funny” to turn that news on its head by taking a tragic situation and turning it into a frat joke.

The last time GoDaddy made the news was when they were called to the carpet for their disrespectful images of women—another issue about which serious people like Malala Yousafzai, Sheryl Sandberg and Hilary Clinton, to name but a few, try to raise awareness.

Can good taste be taught?

Absolutely. Making the news at the cost of others is a bad strategy. One way to ensure you’re on the right side of good taste is to ask yourself: Does this news I’m attaching myself to have anything at all to do with my brand? If the answer is no, not without fabricating a connection like GoDaddy did, it may be a clue that you’re cheaping out, which in the end means you’re not showing respect for your own brand. In that case it’s best to go back to the storyboard and start over.