GoDaddy, the online brand, which was a Big Game staple for years, is sitting out Super Bowl LII, although in another way the brand is returning to its roots.
After skipping Super Bowl 50, GoDaddy turned to new agency Bullish for last year’s effort which kickstarted a yearlong campaign built around a character designed as the personification of the internet.
Previously, the brand routinely faced backlash for its controversial Super Bowl strategy, which were often risque ads featuring Nascar driver Danica Patrick and supermodel Bar Rafaeli. In 2015, GoDaddy sat out the Super Bowl for the first time in 12 years. The year prior, the brand pulled an ad by Barton F. Graf spoofing Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” the year prior, following backlash criticizing the ad for making light of puppy mills, and swapped in a small business-minded “Working” spot instead.
“We did get some negative feedback from the early ads, but we reached our goal, which was to build brand awareness,” GoDaddy chief marketing officer Barb Rechterman told Adweek ahead of last year’s Super Bowl.
While GoDaddy is sitting out the Super Bowl, the brand is reuniting with its former ad star as she approaches the end of her racing career.
“You could say, ‘we’re getting the band back together,'” Rechterman said in a statement. “It makes sense in that our goals are so well-aligned—she’s passionate, tenacious and creative just like so many of our customers who are also looking to leverage the power of the internet and turn their ‘side hustle’ into a full-time business. Danica absolutely epitomizes the heart of our GoDaddy customers. We love it.”
GoDaddy will be providing primary sponsorship for Patrick’s final two races: the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 and Indianapolis 500 on May 27. Patrick’s relationship with GoDaddy dates back to 2006, and she has appeared in some 13 Big Game ads for the brand.
“This is definitely the way I want to finish my racing career—at these two iconic races, backed by my iconic, long-time sponsor. GoDaddy was there for me when my career was just really starting so it’s exciting to be getting back in the GoDaddy ‘green’ for my final two races,” Patrick said in a statement. “Our brands have always been powerful together, and I think it’s awesome to have them at my side when I go ‘all in’ with my businesses after racing.”