Grading Danica Patrick's Super Bowl Commercial Performance

Christopher Leone@ChristopherlionSenior Analyst IFebruary 4, 2013

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JANUARY 10:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, speaks with the media during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway on January 10, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Danica Patrick has become a Super Bowl advertising staple during her IndyCar and NASCAR career, helping popular Internet domain registrar GoDaddy establish itself as an industry leader.

But Patrick, whose appearances in this year's commercials were less focused than in years past, may have had her most successful Super Bowl yet this year—simply by not being the focus of a pair of dud ads.

Patrick's involvement with GoDaddy long predates her NASCAR career. For years, Patrick has appeared in GoDaddy commercials, especially during the Super Bowl, usually appearing as a sex symbol. Her appearances have ranged from body painting a model to appearing in a shower at the behest of excited college students.

But Patrick wasn't GoDaddy's sex symbol this time around in either of the company's two ads. And that may have been a good thing for her.

The company's first ad, "The Kiss," featured Patrick explaining the company's two sides—"the sexy side, represented by Bar Refaeli, and the smart side, represented by Walter."

"Walter," played by Jesse Heiman, is an overweight nerd type with an afro and bright red cheeks.

"Together, they're perfect," Patrick says, as the two share a passionate (yet nauseating) kiss. The scene reportedly took 65 takes.

Patrick's appearance in "Big Idea," which promotes GoDaddy's .CO domains, is much less pronounced. After a host of people around the world claim to have a new and unique idea, the ad cuts to a plane with two people who jumped on the idea first, a sky waitress and Patrick as pilot, all laughing about their success.

These were GoDaddy's first Super Bowl ads since hiring Deutsch New York as its ad agency in June 2012 after years of self-producing content. On one hand, the two-spot campaign featured the same racy material that the company has been known for; on the other, it was much less titillating than past GoDaddy campaigns have been.

Neither ad went over well with the public, however. Both were in the bottom 12 of USA Today's Ad Meter, with "The Kiss" coming in last. Boston.com's Brand Bowl was slightly kinder, ranking GoDaddy 17th out of 43 companies advertising on Sunday night.

The good news for Patrick is that she's not the focus of either ad, even if she is the narrator of the worse one. When viewers disparage "The Kiss," chances are, it'll be GoDaddy itself that takes the heat, not Patrick. Deutsch's decision to shift the racy content away from Patrick may have done her a huge favor in public perception.

That being said, if GoDaddy doesn't remake "The Kiss" with Patrick, boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. dressed as a geek and IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe narrating, they'll have missed a huge opportunity. At least that kiss won't be so awkward.

For more from Christopher Leone, follow @christopherlion on Twitter.


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