From the most successful woman in the history of open-wheel racing in America to "GoDaddy Girl," Danica Patrick's appearances in Super Bowl ads have sparked controversy and debate down the years.
Patrick, now an F1 pundit for Sky Sports, was a fixture of Super Sunday for more than a decade, with advertisers paying absolute fortunes to put her front and centre of an enormous TV audience.
Tonight in Las Vegas, the Kansas City Chiefs (complete with new superfan Taylor Swift) will face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. And brands will each pay a whopping $7million for just 30 seconds of air time every time play stops.
Danica won't be adorning our TV screens tonight, but she does hold an incredible Super Bowl record - the most number of appearances in ads during the big game. An astonishing 14 in total, 13 of them for her car sponsor GoDaddy. Her Super Bowl resume also courted a fair bit of controversy down the years.
Partnered with the domain registrar and web hosting company GoDaddy, known for its controversial ads, Danica became the perfect match for the company's attention-grabbing creative concepts.
GoDaddy's Super Bowl strategy was a bold one. Think adolescent humour and innuendo-laden teasers, all designed to lure viewers to their website for the "real" content. This wasn't about subtlety. It was about grabbing attention, even if it meant raising eyebrows.
Of course, these ads often backfired, sparking criticism for being sexist, offensive, provocative, and uncomfortable, with one ad even 'crossing the line' for animal rights groups.
It's worth noting that landing a Super Bowl ad slot is like snagging the golden ticket to marketing nirvana. Think about it: the biggest sporting event in the US, over 200 million eyeballs glued to the screen, all for a cool $7 million (or more!) for a 30-second ad. No wonder companies salivate at the chance to get a piece of that pie.
For GoDaddy, however, the question is: were these controversial ads worth the hefty price tag? While some may argue the approach was too extreme, numbers and statistics suggest that some of their ads actually did their job, even if people really hated them.
While Danica's "GoDaddy Girl" era may have sparked a ton of debate, it certainly came with lucrative perks. Fox Sports estimated her annual contract with the company to be worth more than $20 million.
However, the partnership wasn't meant to last. In 2015, Stewart-Haas Racing switched gears and signed Nature's Bakery as their new primary sponsor. Two years later, GoDaddy decided to shift strategies and pull out of Super Bowl advertising altogether.
Now, let's take a closer look at Danica Patrick's Super Bowl ads (including the banned ones) and the cost of each of them.
Danica Patrick Super Bowl commercials which DID air
2017: "Daytona Day" ($5 million): After a three-year hiatus, Danica Patrick made a return to Super Bowl ads in 2017, marking her record-breaking 14th appearance on the biggest stage in sports.
This time, she traded her "GoDaddy Girl" persona for a different kind of spotlight, teaming up with Fox Sports to promote the Daytona 500 alongside other drivers.
2014: "Bodybuilders" ($4 million): The ad features Danica wearing a muscle suit while running through the streets alongside male bodybuilders. It is then revealed that they are running to a tanning salon whose owner used GoDaddy to help list her business online.
2013: "Perfect Match" ($3.8 million): This ad, starring Victoria's Secret model Bar Refaeli and actor Jesse Heiman, was one of the most controversial ads in 2013 and CBS even rejected earlier versions of it.
While it ranked dead last in USA Today's Ad Metre, the day after the game, GoDaddy had their best sales day in history. Hosting sales were up 45%, new mobile customers increased by 35%, and dot-com domain sales were up 40%.
2013: "Your Big Idea" ($3.8 million): The ad shows wives around the world urging their husbands to register the .co domain name, thinking they’re the only ones with the big idea. In the end, the man who registered it is seen flying in his own private jet, piloted by Danica.
2012: "Heaven" ($3.5 million): The ad stars two men who are transported to a place that looks like heaven. Danica, dressed in a sparkling gold leotard, greets the men and tells them that this is GoDaddy's Internet cloud. Other 'angels' in the cloud are members of the Pussycat Dolls.
2012: "Body Paint" ($3.5 million): Starring Danica and fitness guru Jillian Michaels, the ad shows the two discussing the company domain site while painting the service's .co domain logo on Colombian model Natalia Velez. Then, the ad suggests you visit the company's website to watch the full video.
2011: "The Contract" ($3.1 million): The ad shows Danica and Jillian reading a script and refusing to do the ad in the green room. The two then walked to the stage seemingly naked, and then, you guessed it, the ad ends with "see more now," driving viewers to the website for "unrated web content."
2011: "GoDaddy.CO Girl" ($3.1 million): The ad shows Danica and Jillian teasing a studio audience about the latest 'GoDaddy Girl', promising a 'hot Hollywood icon' who is a 'household name'. It is then revealed to be Joan Rivers, an American comedian and actress aged 77 at the time.
2010: "Spa" ($2.95 million): The ad features Danica getting a massage from a spa girl and discussing GoDaddy services before the masseuse 'auditions' to be a GoDaddy girl.
2010: "News" ($2.95 million): The ad shows Danica in a live TV interview where a female reporter asks her if GoDaddy's commercials are 'too hot for TV', before showing her 'exactly how hot', with the full video only available on the website.
According to Akamai, there was a huge traffic spike late in the fourth quarter of the game that was tied to the "News" ad airing during the game's two-minute warning.
2009: "Shower" ($3 million): The ad shows Danica in the shower while three students control the movements via a computer keyboard. Of course, the ad teases risqué footage which is only available on GoDaddy's website.
2009: "Enhanced/Baseball" ($3 million): In the most-viewed Super Bowl ad in 2009, Danica and a group of women sit before Congress to address enhancement allegations. Danica then admits to having enhanced her image with a website by GoDaddy.
Following the airing of "Shower" and "Baseball" ads, the company reported a record-breaking Super Bowl Sunday.
GoDaddy saw a whopping 110% increase in registrations compared to the previous year's game day, marking the highest single-day sign-up surge since their Super Bowl debut in 2005.
2008: "Spot On" ($2.7 million): After Fox refused to air GoDaddy's "Exposure" ad due to the use of the word "beaver," the company took a different approach, running another ad titled 'Spot On,' only to advertise the uncut version of the banned commercial, which features Danica unzipping a black leather jacket, and to tell viewers to visit GoDaddy's website to watch the full video.
Interestingly, this cheeky move actually worked, with the ad producing a record 2 million website hits before the game even ended.
2007: "The Office: Marketing" ($2.38 million): Marking her Super Bowl debut, Danica Patrick joined forces with professional wrestler and previous 'GoDaddy Girl' Candice Michelle, where the two were seen dancing while champagne sprayed the room.
Danica Patrick BANNED Super Bowl commercials
In addition to the "Exposure" ad, two more commercials featuring Danica Patrick were banned from TV:
2015: "Journey Home" ($4.25 million): The ad tells the story of a puppy who fell off a truck, and when he finally made it home, his owner said, "Look, it's Buddy. I'm so glad you made it home. Because I just sold you on this website I built with GoDaddy."
This ad was pulled following a backlash from animal rights activists for promoting puppy mills, and Danica then expressed her frustration with the negative reaction, saying: "I don't think anything in this culture surprises me anymore. People have opinions about everything, and especially when you get into that world of animal rights, tree rights, or whatever rights, they all have an opinion."
2010: "Lola" ($2.95 million): The ad features Danica helping a fictitious former NFL player's lingerie design business. This ad was too much for CBS, which refused to air it for "stereotypical tone."
Super Bowl ads - FAQ
How much do Super Bowl ads cost in 2024?
Companies will pay an eye-watering $7million for a 30-second slot during the big game.
Which celebrity has the most Super Bowl appearances?
Danica Patrick appeared in 14 Super Bowl ads, more than any other celebrity.
Which celebrities will appear in ads during Super Bowl 2024?
Prepare for a star-studded Super Bowl LVIII! Lionel Messi, Jenna Ortega, Chris Pratt, and Kris Jenner are just some of the celebrities gearing up to light up the commercial breaks!
When is the Super Bowl 2024?
The Super Bowl is set to take place on February 11 in Las Vegas.
Who will play in the Super Bowl 2024?
The Kansas City Chiefs will face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII. The Chiefs of course will attract a new audience this year with their superstar tight end Travis Kelce having a very famous new girlfriend - a certain Taylor Swift.
What time is the Super Bowl 2024?
The Super Bowl is scheduled to start at 6:30pm ET, which is 11:30pm in the UK.
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