Danica Patrick Ad

Misogynistic marketing: The new GoDaddy radio ad

NASCAR adI’m on my way home from the gym this morning and an ad comes on the radio. I’ll quote it as accurately as I can here, but I may not get the words exactly right. The speaker is a woman, sounds about 30 or so, with a pleasant, low-pitched voice:

“When I heard that the fastest person on Earth was a girl, I wanted to drive to work at 200 mph, but that would interfere with my texting.”

OK, I realized that it had to be referring to Danica Patrick taking the pole position at the Daytona 500. And women text while driving? I hope not.

(For those of you unfamiliar with NASCAR racing, pole position is awarded to the driver with the fastest qualifying lap. This means that that driver starts out at the head of the pack at the beginning of the race. It might seem that this gives the fastest car/driver an unfair advantage, but it just eliminates a lot of unnecessary weaving and passing in the early stages of the race, and makes the whole thing a lot safer. Note: I am not a NASCAR guy, so if the above is incorrect in any way, please feel free to correct me in the comments )

I thought the characterization if her as a “girl” may have been a little off – Danica is nothing if not an accomplished woman. But it got worse, a lot worse:

“I wonder what her father thinks about her taking the pole, my sister got grounded for that.”

Wow. You know what I wonder? What her father thinks about GoDaddy making jokes about his daughter “taking the pole.” Later in the ad, she talks about how some guys think there is a place where nerds can make out with supermodels, and how yes, that place does exist, it’s at Disney World, and it’s called Fantasy land.

Ok What the hell is going on here? The first part of the ad seems to be aiming at the kind of guy who likes off color jokes. But later they take an explicit shot at “nerds”.  This ad ran on WTOP which is an all news channel out of DC. The kind of channel that runs ads from lobbying groups, and government contractors.

I’m mystified. Is there a point to the ad, except to be offensive? What do they gain by making off color references to their own spokesperson?

I saw this as a huge lost opportunity. Here’s what my version of this ad would have been:

(racing sounds effects, cheering crowd)

Announcer: And Danica Patrick takes pole position at the Daytona 500!

Danica: Being at the head of the pack at this year’s Daytona 500 is a dream come true. But I couldn’t have done it without a great car, and a great team. You can make your dreams come true too, and you can do it with my team!

Announcer: Maybe your dream isn’t to win the Daytona 500 – maybe you just want to get your business online quickly and do it right the first time. Talk to the professional team at GoDaddy today, and move into the winners circle!

(racing sounds effects, cheering crowd)

Why my ad is better:

  • In and out in 15 seconds tops.
  • Kudos to Danica for a great achievement.
  • Promoting their spokesperson in a positive way.
  • A bit of outreach to female business owners.

The internet is crawling with female entrepreneurs. It’s beyond me why GoDaddy would take this tone. Hey guys, ever heard of mommy bloggers? Pinterest?

GoDaddy has made public relations missteps before. Apparently they didn’t learn much. When I see a company make these kinds of mistakes over and over, I have to believe the rot goes all the way to the top, and that this is what GoDaddy management thinks about women.

I’m offended on a professional level by them missing an event driven opportunity (Danica rocking Daytona) and an ongoing opportunity (the ever increasing influence of women online).

I’m offended on a personal level by their dismissive and disrespectful tone towards a female employee – one who probably has more personal courage, and has achieved more, than anyone in the executive suite at GoDaddy

Whatever they’re paying for marketing, it’s too much.