- Danica Patrick will appear in at least one commercial for GoDaddy during the 2014 Super Bowl.
- GoDaddy said there will be no "risqué innuendo" in upcoming ads with the racecar driver.
- The company plans to emphasize the value it brings to customers with its Web-hosting and domain-registering services.
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Racecar driver Danica Patrick will be less racy in TV commercials now that GoDaddy has announced plans to tone down the sex appeal for its 2014 Super Bowl effort.
The Web-hosting and domain registration firm announced its Super Bowl plans on Thursday, saying they would include Patrick, but with a toned-down approach.
The new policy represents a shift in philosophy. In June 2012 GoDaddy hired an ad agency, Deutsch New York, and signaled its intention to distance itself from the sexually provocative ads — most produced in-house — for which it had become known.
Those earlier spots first came to widespread national attention during the 2005 Super Bowl, when a GoDaddy ad spoofed Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during halftime at the previous year's game. Since then, commercials for each Super Bowl have featured scantily clad "GoDaddy Girls," double entendres and blatantly sexual situations.
Now, while hoping to retain the edge, GoDaddy wants to create a more sophisticated image. In a statement, the company's CEO, Blake Irving, said: "2014 marks a new era for GoDaddy Super Bowl commercials."
And Chief Marketing Officer Barb Rechterman stated: "We've evolved. Our new brand of Super Bowl commercials will make it crystal clear what we do and who we stand for. We may be changing our approach, but as we've always said, we don't care what the critics think. We are all about our customers."
The change in approach has not exactly been abrupt.
The juxtaposition of hot and nerdy surfaced at the 2013 Super Bowl, when the company aired a commercial with supermodel Bar Refaeli kissing techy "Walter" (actor Jesse Heiman) for an uncomfortably long time. In the ad, Danica Patrick makes the point that GoDaddy has both a sexy side and a smart side.
Edmunds says: Sounds like the end of an era.