Danica Patrick rides shotgun on GoDaddy’s marketing blitz through Super Bowls and more
Danica Patrick has appeared in 10 Super Bowl commercials, more than any other celebrity. The Budweiser Clydesdales have been in more, but it’s not always the same horses.
And besides, did any of them have such an impact on the actual script?
Patrick’s suggestive, campy and often-ridiculous commercials for GoDaddy.com aren’t much for cinematic genius. They have, however, been wildly successful for the company, and the secret may be that Patrick is known to rewrite jokes, suggest gags and even go through takes where she doesn’t know what’s coming.
“One of the people with the most important input into the commercials is Danica herself because she’s always willing to say, ‘I want to do this, I want to do that,’ ” said Bob Parsons, GoDaddy’s executive chairman and founder. “It’s rare that we don’t do what she says we should. Her creative sense is always spot on.”
So include creative consultant to the list of Patrick’s various titles, the most notable being race car driver. Sunday she becomes the highest-profile female (and just third ever) to enter the Daytona 500.
GoDaddy is, naturally, her chief sponsor.
As big as the Great American Race is, it pales in comparison to the audience the Super Bowl delivers.
Patrick says she loves the challenge of coming up with the advertisement and the fact GoDaddy is so willing to listen to her input. Sometimes they’ll run takes without telling her what’s coming so they get a natural scene.
“Those are really my reactions,” Patrick said. “They are first run. They are just filming me and reacting, and sometimes the first time roll of the camera is pretty funny.”
Other times they’ll run through a series of lines and different jokes and all sorts of attempts. If nothing else, Patrick is committed. She doesn’t just show up and do the minimum.
So if you like/loathe the ads, credit/blame Danica.
“Last year there was one called Superhero,” Patrick said. “And [co-star] Jillian [Michaels] and I were these Superheroes. At the end of it we get done and we are ready to walk out, and Jillian says something like, ‘I’m really disappointed in your food choices.’
“And I was like, ‘Oh, it would be so funny if I was eating pizza as she was saying it, and then I threw it down when she said it and said, yeah.’ And they put it in.”
The script reworking is no small thing. The average price of a 30-second spot in this month’s Super Bowl was $3.5 million. Every moment is precious.
Parsons said he decided to sign Patrick as an endorser after he saw her finish fourth in the 2005 Indianapolis 500. She started with some web-only ads. By 2007 she was in a Super Bowl spot. By 2009, she was in two per game.
In 2005, GoDaddy says it had 25 percent of the market of the domain name registering and website hosting market. In 2012 it’s at 54 percent. Parsons notes that the company had to deliver and innovate, but no doubt Patrick has played a role.
The bonus for NASCAR is that in a circuit that has seen sponsors drop out in recent years, Patrick comes with her own corporate backing. The company is a presenting sponsor for Saturday’s Nationwide broadcast as well.
“I did not sponsor Danica because I wanted to get into racing,” Parsons said. “I got into racing because I wanted to sponsor Danica. If it wasn’t for Danica, I’m not sure I’d be involved in racing.”
As for the commercials, they are already working on the next one. Patrick, like any good actor, says she may have even found a post-racing career: director.
“I actually said I like being on the other side of the camera better,” Patrick said. “It’s great to be on TV and everything, it’s good for me, but I think it’s more interesting the shot, the deliver of the lines, the mood of it, the attitude and the little inflections that people have, the little facial expressions.”
“She’s a perfectionist, and she likes to take charge,” Parsons said, laughing. “So I guess that’d be a director.”
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