GoDaddy shocked the marketing world this week (OK “shocked” is an exaggeration), launching a new campaign that shifts its positioning. Past campaigns were infamous for their consistent use of scantily clad young women and eyebrow-raising copy, with the online versions of ads even more scandalous than their broadcast counterparts.
The new campaign broke yesterday under the tagline, “It’s Go Time.” The inaugural spot features Jean-Claude Van Damme hovering distractingly over a baker (representing small business owners), supposedly helping him face the challenges of his day. It’s a humorous enough ad, but like almost all others GoDaddy has ever created, has little to do with the brand and the role it should play in my life as a business owner. It doesn’t even speak to the supposed theme of helping business owners face their daily challenges. The main challenge faced by our baker hero is getting the bread baked when this clown keeps dropping out of the ceiling doing weird stuff like playing a pan flute. He’s like the creep Burger King (don’t EVEN get me started!) reincarnated in the B2B sphere. So is the value proposition that GoDaddy will distract me from doing my work & generating much-needed revenue by entertaining me? Probably not.
Articles are referencing a “new brand personality” and some applaud GoDaddy for stepping away from the “hot babe” platform. Really? I would counter that this is the same personality they’ve always had – quirky, irreverant, not taking itself very seriously (nor my business, as far as I can tell). And is this ad really “babeless” just because the babe is, for once, a guy?
I’m really not a prude. In fact, I would welcome media that showed more of the human body, if it didn’t exclusively do so in a tacky way. I wouldn’t care so much about the human form being objectified if it weren’t so one-sided (and let’s face it – it’s almost always women) and I didn’t see it impacting the way we treat and respect each other. I’ll admit to checking out GoDaddy when I was creating my own website. I didn’t find they provided either exceptional features or unsurpassed value. AND I didn’t like their marketing. I made a mental note at the time that it might be a good example to share in a future blog post about stooping to the lowest common denominator. I chose a different vendor, and am very happy with Green Geeks. GoDaddy doesn’t care what I think of their marketing because I’m a revered brand genius, but they should care what I think because I am the target this campaign reportedly seeks to woo. It didn’t.