Being hard on the beaver

Posted by Iannucci | 2/12/2008 | 6 comments »
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In case you haven't seen the "banned by Fox" GoDaddy ad featuring Danica Patrick, allow me to congratulate you on your overwhelming sense of decency. Because I know my children are prone to reading this site I will summarize by saying Danica is talking about her, umm, furry little dam builder.

Which would have been nothing, were it not for the fact that mere days after the release of this commercial, the pilot of the #7 has been nominated by Nickelodeon for a Kids Choice Award as Favorite Female Athelete.

Are you kidding me?

Danica is many things, but I think at this point she's may have gone off the cliff as a Kid's Choice. You can't be making ads like that and still be a paragon towards childlike virtue. Our buddy pressdog has taken her to task for not being able to live up to this nomination, and now your humble host offers an Open Letter plea to the raven-haired one.

Dear Mrs Hospenthal,

I’m a big fan of your IndyCar career, and as such I though it was time to pass a note to you. You’ve done a lot of great work in promoting the Indy Racing League the last few years by probably saving the series from certain financial ruin, but more so for me personally your competitive runs have intrigued my oldest daughter enough that she now shares a passion for racing as well. Fortunately she doesn't share your passion for F-bombs (at least not yet) so for those other contributions I will always be grateful to you.

I understand that part of the reason – OK, most of the reason – for your popularity is due to your relentless branding towards a “sexy” image. I get that this somehow sells phones and antifreeze and pastries and pays the bills for you because your sponsors really dig the whole “hot chick in a fast car” thing. That’s all well and good, but even you should realize there’s a difference between “sexy” and “trashy”.

And that new GoDaddy “Beaver” ad of yours is clearly the latter.

Despite the fact that you were made to look like you were completely undressing in public before paparazzi for no apparent reason, I don’t have any particular moral objections to that commercial that Fox rejected. However I do think the folks at Fox were doing you and your sponsor a favor by keeping it off the airwaves, because that was the far and away the most lame, ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen you do. And I'm counting last year's ad. This new one was like someone let a 14-year-old boy write the script, and honestly I thought your appeal was trying to be a bit beyond the Beavis and Butthead crowd. I suppose you were trying to go for laughs with the whole debacle, but “where’s the beaver” isn’t going to get them.

Come on - you were talking about "my beaver". To the camera.

So as a fan I’m politely asking you to try being a bit more judicious in your self-promotion. Embarrassing yourself with this juvenile nonsense isn’t going to help you land future sponsorship deals (Larry Flynt not withstanding), isn't going to advance auto racing, and it certainly isn’t going to help your current image with fans like me or my daughter. What it will do is make many of us question your true intentions, because since you have reached the top of the marketing ladder we can only presume that you are able to make select from many choices of ad campaigns for which you wish to appear as a representative.

Please choose more carefully before you become a liability instead of an asset to the sport we love. We care about you and your career, but not necessarily your beaver.

Most Sincerely,

Jeff Iannucci
My Name Is IRL


  1. Anonymous // February 12, 2008 4:40 AM  

    I saw the commercial at youtube this morning, and Jeff, I'm pretty liberal, I mean, I'm a fairly normal, all-American guy, your typical boy-next-door, red-blooded American kinda guy who enjoys the occasional locker room or bar room joke, but this commercial rubs me the wrong way. It's racy (pun intended) and inappropriate for someone representing the sport and children. It trades on her sex appeal and it's degrading to women. Drawing from the late Justice Potter Stewart's famous phrase defining pornography, I can't define bad taste, but I know it when I see it.

    That said, I don't think FOX was right in banning it. I get nervous when people start banning things. It smacks of book burning and goose stepping.

  2. pressdog // February 12, 2008 7:18 AM  

    Whenever Danica needs a boost, some cash, juice with sponsors, she just unzips. Free country, but not a philosophy my daughters grow up to embrace. The other nominees for the Kids Choice awards, to my knowledge, have avoided such strategies.

  3. mikebdot // February 12, 2008 8:57 AM  

    My biggest problem with the commercial was that it wasn't even that funny. I could not care less about joking about one's beaver.

    I'm not sure I understand why the "beaver" was in the "trunk" though. Does that mean she has a hairy butt? Gross.

  4. mikebdot // February 12, 2008 9:01 AM  

    But, thinking about it some more, could you imagine someone like Michael Jordan doing a comercial for "black caulk"? "Don't be ashamed the caulk is black, white ladies dig it". And then they show a fat guy using "black caulk" to seal this/that/the other around the house, surrounded by hot white women. He would have laughed that "pitch" off after about two seconds. Not a good decision on Danica's part. Of course, agreeing to be sponsored by "Go Daddy" was mistake number one.

  5. Anonymous // February 12, 2008 9:14 AM  

    Given Danica's chosen method of self-promotion since her career started, I'm surprised anyone is surprised.

  6. Anonymous // February 23, 2008 1:14 PM  

    Jeff...THANK YOU! You have said it all quite well! As the grandfather of your little P1 race fan, thank you even more. You know that, like you and P1, I am a Danica fan...have been from the onset; and I love the way that P1 shares our mutual love of racing. What a joy for a father and grandfather to share that love with a child.....and a girl, no less!
    And as liberal as I am sometimes, this ad has crossed the line. I do not understand why people who are idolized by kids ( and yes, Danica, you KNOW that thousands of little girls ...and boys...across the nation idolize you, follow every race you are in)...why those people have to prostitute themselves for the sake of a sponsor. I do not understand why these big names do not have the b**ls to stand up and say, "Ya know...enough is enough." But, big money works. And in the world of auto racing, where it's ALL about sponsors and kissing a**, this is what we have come to. I just wish, Jeff, that you and P1 could go back in time and watch racing when it wasn't about the big bucks, when it was about racing and when the worse thing you had to worry about at Indy was whether Bobby Unser was going to drive another rental car into a motel swimming pool or how close AJ would come to punching Chris Econamaki for another stupid question. Regardless...what they did was who they were. And they sure as heck weren't prostituting themselves for some big sponsor by going over the line in the manner Danica has done this time.