GoDaddy Still Misses the Opportunity with Danica Patrick in Its Ads

Earlier this week, Bruce Horovitz at USA Today asked me what I thought of the new ads from GoDaddy, replacing the overly sexualized use of Danica Patrick with spots featuring her and NASCAR crew chief Tony Stewart playing gags on each other.

danica patrick in godaddy ad

He ended up using only a line from my response in the write-up, so thought I’d share my whole POV here:

  • What’s the appeal of Danica Patrick to general consumers?

She has the “every man” appeal of auto racing – mainstream, red state, heartland of America. Auto racing in general is appealing because it’s high risk and testosterone-fueled and as a beautiful woman, Danica makes is even more exciting — Danica guys want to date her and gals want to be her. Plus, as a woman in a male-dominated culture, she stands out and is memorable.

  • Has GoDaddy made the right move steering entirely away from sexy stuff?

Yes, the “sexy stuff” has distracted people from understanding what GoDaddy does and what value they provide. However, it sounds like they’re still using their ads to entertain more than inform. Adding Tony Stewart and having he and Danica play gags on each other may continue to draw attention to the ads but not the message.

  • What advice would YOU give GoDaddy to stay relevant to small biz owners…and, perhaps, Millennials.

Domain name registration and website development/hosting firms are a dime-a-dozen these days. People have so many choices and the category is commoditized (i.e., very price driven). In order to breakthrough, attract customers, and maintain a decent profit margin, GoDaddy needs to differentiate what it offers and communicate that differentiation strongly. Give people a reason to choose it beyond a low price. And, with so many other influences out there, I doubt people choose a web firm just because it has funny ads with famous people in them.

  • If you had Danica and Tony Stewart in the same ad, what would you do with it?

I don’t know about Tony, but Danica has a lot to offer as a celebrity endorser beyond her good looks and sexiness. For example, she holds the record for most consecutive races running at the finish – that easily translates into a message about brand reliability and performance. She’s won or placed in several key races which can be tied to a brand message about business success and winning. Using her only as a eye candy as GoDaddy has done in past years and as sight-gag as it did in its 2014 Super Bowl ad is really a waste. And I suspect people are tiring of it. Either use her to communicate something relevant or move on.

What do you think?


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