Danica Patrick, GoDaddy shift to more ‘mature’ branding

Danica Patrick, GoDaddy shift to more ‘mature’ branding

Danica Patrick, GoDaddy shift to more ‘mature’ branding

Nate Ryan | 02/20/2014 | USA Today Sports

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Clad in a firesuit and turning hot laps behind the wheel of a green car, Danica Patrick sports a familiar image in the latest advertising campaign centered around her NASCAR celebrity.

But she hopes the customary look actually represents a new direction in how sponsors will be marketing her in the future — with a de-emphasis on the cheesecake appeal that has been the hallmark of her previous ads with GoDaddy.

“It’s like we’ve gone to a mature content phase,” she told USA TODAY Sports. “As opposed to high heels, it’s business jackets. As opposed to walking down the red carpet and answering who I’m excited to see tonight, it’s more about talking about inspiring women, and working on my brand attributes, and what do I stand for … it’s a lot more original content. It’s fun.”

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In its latest “The Big Leap” campaign, Patrick drives five prospective business owners around Charlotte Motor Speedway in a Chevrolet Camaro, and each makes their pitch for winning a grant from GoDaddy to support their idea

“They’re not in a position to make a living at it yet, so this is giving one of them a chance to quit their job and have six months of salary and get going on their dream job,” she said.

It’s a significant departure for Patrick, who has starred in 13 commercials for GoDaddy since 2007. The subject matter of past ads often was racy and suggestive with scantily clad models

But the company has begun taking a more conservative bent with its advertising under CEO Blake Irving, who took the helm a year ago. Trying to woo small business owners, the focus has become celebrating ambition and value instead of sex appeal.

It’s been a well-timed shift for Patrick, who has aligned with a more refined list of sponsors (such as Nationwide and Coke) since entering NASCAR full time two years ago.

“I love it,” she said of GoDaddy’s move. “I feel like I really would say that we’ve grown up together. I feel like we’re both in a position where our brand is pretty high, and it’s about then going deeper and being more specific about appealing to small businesses.

“For me, it’s about evolving past just getting people to notice me and being able to do cool things like talk about being a business woman and the business side.”

Patrick recently got to explore that with a visit to Google headquarters, where she spoke about her “Beautiful Revolution” brand that aims to position her for a postrace career that could include a clothing line and other business ventures.

“That’s important because one day I’ll be done racing and in some other business,” said Patrick, who has the highest awareness, endorsement, influence and trend-setter ratings among NASCAR drivers in the Davie-Brown index that measures celebrity appeal. “I’m fortunate that they do such an amazing job of marketing that it helps me.”

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