Newspaper article International New York Times

GoDaddy Tries to Shed Innuendo ; New Ad Agency Is Hired to Tailor Image to Appeal to Female Entrepreneurs

Newspaper article International New York Times

GoDaddy Tries to Shed Innuendo ; New Ad Agency Is Hired to Tailor Image to Appeal to Female Entrepreneurs

Article excerpt

The Internet services company once known for sexy Super Bowl ads has hired the agency Barton F. Graf 9000 in a bid to change its image.

Two years after GoDaddy began moving away from sexually provocative advertising that sharply divided consumers, the company is seeking to help accelerate the shift with a change in creative agencies.

Executives of GoDaddy, the Internet services company, are to announce on Wednesday that they have hired the New York firm Barton F. Graf 9000 as their United States advertising agency of record. The company had been working since June 2012 with Deutsch New York on efforts to leave behind a brand image that was centered on suggestive Super Bowl commercials replete with double entendres and featuring scantily clad women known as GoDaddy Girls.

The desire to alter brand perceptions was prompted by factors that included changes in ownership and the executive ranks at GoDaddy, a growing backlash to the sexy ads and a realization that more women were becoming part of the company's target audience of small-business owners. That led to at least four rounds of work from Deutsch New York that tried to cultivate a more grown-up, professional persona for GoDaddy, which handles online tasks like web hosting, registering domain names and designing websites.

Among those makeover efforts were commercials that adopted a theme of "Smart meets sexy," which included a Super Bowl spot in 2013 centered on a kiss between a nerd and a supermodel; commercials with Jean-Claude Van Damme, who was meant to embody a new brand personality of enabling entrepreneurs to meet whatever challenges they face; and commercials during the most recent Super Bowl in February that featured a woman who owns a small business and a woman who wanted to own one. "Deutsch did a great job for us," said Barb Rechterman, chief marketing officer of GoDaddy in Scottsdale, Ariz. "They really have done a ton of work."

However, she added, "as we started looking post-Super Bowl at ways to evolve the brand," the company felt it should begin a review. That process started with several agencies -- not including Deutsch New York -- and ended with the selection of Barton F. …

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