Viral: Go Daddy CEO shoots elephants, brand under fire

Everybody knows that you shouldn’t post your drunken weekend party photos on Facebook. But did you also know you shouldn’t promote your new spring fashion line on Twitter with insensitive remarks about the bloody uprising in Egypt? (Well, we know that now, don’t we Kenneth Cole?) You also probably shouldn’t make tsunami jokes either. (Right, Gilbert Gottfried?) Perhaps — in light of these faux pas — it isn’t obvious that killing African elephants on video, setting their slaughter to AC/DC’s “Hells Bells,” and then uploading it to the Internet on your own video hosting service,, and pitching it as a humanitarian expedition, isn’t an intelligent branding move either.

Enter Bill Parsons, the CEO of Go Daddy, a high-powered rifle and a small herd of elephants eating crops. …and the video that has gone viral this morning. The explicit video has caused Go Daddy to become a Google Hot Topic and the subject of countless Tweets and posts. PETA, the animal rights group, has terminated its account with Go Daddy and is pleading with others to follow suit.

Hunting African Elephants is legal with proper permits and fees. Some areas of Africa are experiencing overpopulation, much like the problem we have with deer in America. Elephants can destroy crops by trampling them. In this video Parsons shoots and kills one of the elephants. Later, a swarm of villagers arrive to butcher the elephant’s meat. At this point Parsons sets it all to acid rock.

Noticing an opportunity, Go Daddy competitor began a promotion with a percentage of sales going to Their site was overwhelmed by traffic and is offline at the time this post is being published.

I’m going to spare you the moral of this story about how your behavior directly affects branding. Hopefully you can figure it out for yourselves before your next safari.

CAUTION Video shows graphic violence.

>>UPDATE Monday, April 4, 2011 Bob Parsons has modified the original video, adding more captions and removing the AC/DC’s “Hells Bells.” Original source: Bob Parson’s Blog

The original video is below: