GoDaddy Defends Sexy Strategy, Leaks Super Bowl Ad Of Danica Patrick And Jillian Michaels Painting Naked Model

GoDaddy has “leaked” one of its two Super Bowl 2012 ads, and the spot — featuring spokeswoman Danica Patrick and health guru Jillian Michaels painting a naked model like a race car — falls in line with the web hosting company’s tradition of scandalous commercials.

As Patrick and Michaels admire the parts of the model that they painted with GoDaddy’s logo (all the while goading viewers to imagine the parts they left, well, naked) the camera pans to two still-wet words on the smirking model’s collar bone: “Get Noticed!” A motto that GoDaddy appears to live by.

“We have a term we use with our ads that is GoDaddy-esque,” Barbara Rechterman, chief marketing officer at GoDaddy, told Business Insider. “We like them edgy but we keep them clean enough not just for the Super Bowl but for other networks’ prime time television as well.”

But Rechterman admits that it has taken GoDaddy a few years to find the right formula for an ad that’s racy enough to get attention but tame enough to get past a network’s standards and practices department.

While NBC approved this year’s batch — the second spot features Patrick and the newest Pussy Cat Doll — immediately, GoDaddy told BI that ABC had rejected 13 versions of their ads in 2006.  10 were rejected in 2008, eight in 2009, and three in 2010. 

But do these ads work? USA Today ran a front page feature Friday examining GoDaddy’s tradition of salacious Super Bowl spots. The headline questioned, “Super Bowl ads get racier, but does sex sell?

Bruce Horovitz reported:

According to the research gurus at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, who have been analysing Super Bowl ads for more than two decades. They’ve found that spots with sexual imagery take a 10% hit in “likability” vs. ads without racy images.

 Likable or not, the writing on the naked model says it all: GoDaddy’s ads have certainly gotten the company noticed.

In 2011, Nielsen recorded that saw the largest traffic increase following the Super Bowl ever recorded. The week after the big game, experienced a 41 per cent increase in unique U.S. visitors from the week prior to the Super Bowl. 

Rechterman also sent BI data showing how the Super Bowl ads have increased their market share of new domain names. After their first Super Bowl in 2005 — in which one ad was pulled by FOX at the last minute for being too inappropriate — GoDaddy’s market share increased from 16 per cent to 25 per cent. Since then, their market share has increased incrementally. After their 2011 ads, GoDaddy has reached 53 per cent, a figure that holds throughout the year.