Danica Patrick’s GoDaddy ads to de-emphasize sexy elements; winning races now important

For most of its existence, the web hosting company GoDaddy.com has built an image apparently cultivated by love-starved 14-year-old boys — skin, sass and temptation. And it's worked well enough that GoDaddy has become an institution, albeit one you wouldn't want to show your mother.

Along the way, the company's centerpiece, the insanely controversial NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, has doffed her firesuit more than a time or two. The star of a record 10 Super Bowl ads, Patrick has been a willing participant in campaigns that skirt flyover-state notions of decency. (Even so, Patrick has always had a wry smile on the ads, like she was in on the joke all along.)

Here, for instance, is Patrick feeling the urge to shower:

You get the idea.

Now, though, Patrick and GoDaddy are looking to go legit — or, at least, a little more legit. As USA Today notes, GoDaddy has hired a new advertising firm and is taking a less raunchy approach to its ads. That will, in turn, mean that Patrick likely won't be disrobing or body-painting scantily-clad models any more. The attention-grabbing tactics served their purpose:

"As the company grows, you tend to find yourself accommodating to the masses more as opposed to trying to be polarizing," Patrick said. "They achieved that size that they just need to have that solid, mainstream presence, and that trustworthiness and credibility and things that come along with taking a slightly more safer route. I'm ready for it."

And that seems to be just fine with Patrick, who is moving in a more conservative direction herself, sponsor-wise. Coca-Cola, Tissot watches and Nationwide Insurance, among others, are companies that don't need Patrick to writhe on a hood in a bikini.

Patrick has come under considerable scrutiny, and criticism, for her perceived line-jumping in moving through NASCAR's ranks. Put it this way: She's not as popular as she is because of her on-track statistics. Still, de-emphasizing the sexy side of her persona is a savvy move to combat much of the criticism she receives, and to help move her brand forward. Next step? Actually winning a doggone race.

GoDaddy, Danica Patrick going conservative [USA Today]

-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee. No shower scenes, promise.

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