GoDaddy, the internet hosting site known for it’s racy commercials starring NNS driver Danica Patrick, recently announced that their company was ready to change their image. They want to come across as a more professional business and cut out the sexy advertising.
We all know sex sells in a lot of situations, but men make up a good-sized part of the racing fan base. Yet women, including myself, don’t really care for a bikini-clad Danica going across my screen when there’s action on the track. The driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevy hasn’t done anything on-track that’s really special, but she’s the topic that’s setting the NASCAR world on fire.
If the new direction for GoDaddy’s campaigning makes her seem more like a serious driver, then I’m all for it. What I’m wondering is if the damage is already done.
With all the publicity Patrick is getting, it could sway the thoughts of other female drivers or, even more troublesome, young girls. “If those commercials get her more attention, why not?” In racing, and in society, image has become a factor that determines how people view individuals. Although it isn’t right, those with a more flashy representation get more publicity, compared to those who may be more entitled to the promotion.
Take Johanna Long, for example. The 20-year-old gained respect from competitors such as Elliott Sadler and Brad Keselowski last week at Michigan, where she claimed a 16th place finish. She ran great throughout the whole race. The announcers only talked about her twice. During the same race, Patrick spun two times and was the subject of much talk. I see that as unfair.
Now, on the other hand, we have Kasey Kahne. He’s known as a NASCAR heartthrob because of how he looks, and many females were attracted to the sport for that reason. The driver doesn’t like talking about his ‘fan girls,’ mostly because he doesn’t see himself that way. I remember back when he was sponsored by Allstate, and the company used his Pretty Boy image to their advantage. The commercials featured three woman chasing around Kahne and vying for his attention. You could say that’s similar to what Danica is doing. But there’s a line: when the business opportunity is used, and when it’s abused. Kahne brought women in, yet Patrick is pushing them away to some extent.
If I were Danica, I would be happy with this new direction GoDaddy is going in. It’s definitely a new direction for the company, but maybe it’s the right direction.