Long-time Danica Patrick sponsor GoDaddy changes ad approach
By Lee SpencerFoxSports
Is NASCAR’s favorite Go Daddy girl Danica Patrick preparing for a transformation?
Go Daddy announced a new marketing strategy after enlisting Deutsch Inc., New York.
"We are teaming up with Deutsch because we think the team there 'gets us' and can help take Go Daddy to the next level," Go Daddy Chief Marketing Officer Barb Rechterman said in a release Wednesday. "They understand our story, and we think working with Deutsch is going to be an important step in Go Daddy's brand evolution."
The news comes nearly a year after Go Daddy LLC. founder Bob Parsons sold majority interest in his company to KKR and Co., Silver Lake Partners and Crossover Technology Ventures. It’s also been a year since Patrick announced her move to NASCAR full time from IndyCar.
For those that weren’t familiar with Patrick’s racing prowess before her association with Go Daddy in 2006, certainly the web-hosting provider and domain-name registrar’s Super Bowl commercials offered exposure for the then-24-year-old to millions of households worldwide. The spicy ads with scantily clad women — including Patrick — left audiences wanting more.
Patrick’s popularity before her NASCAR experience helped her become one the most visible athletes in motorsports.
But will Go Daddy’s new approach affect Patrick or NASCAR’s involvement with the brand?
“We love NASCAR,” said Elizabeth Driscoll, vice president/public relations for Go Daddy LLC. “You may see the new era of GoDaddy.com commercials later this summer/early fall during NASCAR broadcasts . . . we have not yet decided specifics. We shoot starting Sunday in LA, so we are very much focused on that aspect at the moment.”
Patrick said she's looking forward to seeing which direction things head.
“They’ve obviously signed on with the big ad agency, Deutsch, and I think that’s really cool, really exciting," she said Friday at Michigan International Speedway, where she was preparing for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday. "For them it’s more about explaining to the consumer all of the things that they do beyond just registering domain names. I’m interested to see what they come up with. I think it’s going to be fun. This is just a new phase, a new chapter for Go Daddy. What completely that entails, I don’t think any of us really know. But I’m looking forward to seeing it and being part of it.”
While some might question Patrick's absence from the GoDaddy.com Olympics ad campaign, that was never part of her schedule.
“At this point in time, they only have planned, I believe, to shoot some Olympics commercials,” Patrick said. “I’m not in those and never was in those. So I don’t think they’ve planned anything else. Obviously, they just hired a new agency and the ball just started rolling. Also, I’m fresh off of recording a commercial or two for them. It was the Indy stuff with (driver) James (Hinchcliffe).
“I really feel like that’s the way it’s gone. It’s just the evolution that’s happened on its own. It’s pretty tough to say anything, but all it’s been is great when companies like Coca-Cola and Nationwide want to come on board and want to be supportive. They are — just by nature — different in their advertising."
Patrick, who turned 30 in March, is in her first full season in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series. She is currently 11th in points. Although the suggestive undercurrent in GoDaddy.com’s previous ad campaigns has proved highly successful, the shift to a greater focus on the product itself could also offer Patrick a wider appeal with more conservative brands such as Coca-Cola and Chevrolet.
Still, she offers no regrets for the racy ad campaign she's been a part of up to now. Nor does turning 30 have anything to do with adopting a more mature approach.
“Not at all, turning 30 is really a bummer for all of us," she said. "But, no, I’ve never done anything I’m uncomfortable with, and never will. Everything I’ve done, I’ve had a lot of fun.”
One of the driver’s representatives, Mark Dyer, senior vice president of IMG, believes that Deutsch will work hand-in-hand with the driver and sponsor in positioning both Patrick and Go Daddy in the most effective manner.
“We’re fortunate that Go Daddy has invested in a long-term development plan for Danica to come to NASCAR,” Dyer said. “Certainly, they’re looking at their long-term marketing strategies, and Danica’s marketing strategies will continue to evolve right along with it.
“Go Daddy bought into this plan three years ago and when they recommitted to Danica last year and we announced that she was going full time to NASCAR. This was a mutual decision. It’s what everyone wanted — to go forward in NASCAR.”