It's the least wonderful time of the year

Posted by Iannucci | 2/01/2009 | 22 comments »
Bookmark and Share

Welcome to the Valley of the Sun, where the sports frenzy is reaching new heights. For the first time ever our otherwise hapless, carpet-bagger football franchise has somehow managed to find it's way to the biggest game in American football: The Soopahbow.

And while most folks here will be huddled around their TVs, decked out shiny new Cardinal gear, your humble host will be sitting at home with his family, occasionally sticking his fingers in his ears and going "la la la la la la". Because the Soopahbow has become something I've grown to regret the last few years. Because the Soopahbow isn't about the game, it's about the ads. And because once again it's time for another embarrassing ad featuring Danica Patrick.

Actually, we're getting two of them.

One ad is called "Shower" where some idiot decides he can use a computer to make Danica take a shower. I'm not sure what this has to do with domain names. The other is called "Baseball" where Danica admits to being enhanced ...what???...oh wait, it's her WEB SITE that's enhanced. Honestly, judging from the "Gun Show" going on in the shower ad I'd suspect she may in fact be "enhanced", just in the Canseco/McGwire sense of the word. She might even be able to defeat Tony Kanaan in arm wrestling with those bulging biceps. Yikes!

But it's not the arms that trouble me, it's the fact that we now have yet another sophomoric attempt at humor providing the most visible showcase for the biggest name in IndyCar. As I noted last year in my Open Letter to Danica, it's not the nature of the humor I find deplorable, it's the absence of humor. It's possible to be sexy and funny without being completely crass.

As the year wore on I kinda wondered if someone had actually read that letter, since the only GoDaddy ad we saw all year was one of some tween-age girl going all Viso on some boys in a go-kart racing and getting the checkered flag presented to her by Danica. (And might I note that soon after that ad ran Danica won her first race. Coincidence?)

But here we are back today with a double dose of inanity, and despite the previous six paragraphs this isn't all about how I feel. I got to thinking about this and it's pretty obvious GoDaddy is the first name that comes to mind whend considering Danica's long list of sponsors. That's amazing considering they've only been leveraging her celebrity for about three years, especially when her car displays logos for several other companies that hardly ever get a peep of pub with her.

Take for example Motorola. Much was made when they announced a three-year deal with Mrs Hospenthal and Andretti Green, supposedly to the tune of over $20 million. This is her primary sponsor, friends, the one who she's supposed to mention within three seconds of having a microphone stuffed in her face, but sober folks could safely play their own drinking game with as many times as she mentioned Motorola.

How about AirTran? Anyone seen "AirTranica One" lately? Danica also has a watch endorsement - you know who that is? And what about Argent Mortgage, the company that Rahal Letterman sued to retain as a sponsor when Danica jumped to AGR? Yeah, well, they don't even exist as a sole entity anymore.

Look, I've got nothing against GoDaddy. They're a wonderful company and I've been using their services since before Danica! was their spokesperson. (I also have a Motorola phone, but I've never flown AirTran. Just sayin'.) I just wonder why GoDaddy seems to be thriving with ridiculous advertisements featuring the IndyCar über-celebrity while other companies are nearly invisible with their co-operative synergies.

Then again, maybe it's because of the ridiculous advertisements. Anyhow, for the love of Larry Fitzgerald, Go Cardinals!


  1. Anonymous // February 01, 2009 10:49 AM  

    As much as I've been poked and prodded to do a blog post on this I've resisted, because coming from me, it would take on a whole different flavour. (you know the "obviously you don't like her cause you're just jealous" kind)(um, no kids...that's definitely not it)

    It's so sad that when presented the opportunity to market herself and thus her sponsors, that she and her handlers go for cliched, tacky and demeaning. This years options of sexual innuendo and lesbian sexual innuendo tell that story.

    At least she's not dressed in nomex or anywhere near a race car or track. So to most of the drunken eyes watching, she's just another bimbo "model" selling herself out for money.

    How about the inspirational, empowering or even comically ironic ads? those are qualities that sell too no? Where are those?

    Speaking of ads in general, how about one ad featuring all of the drivers a la the "Faster" adds from Cart oh those many years ago.

    Or those great funny Target ads:

    They feature the drivers, the series and the sponsor. You don't hang your head with embarrassment by association.

    I have to blame the ad execs too though. Seems it's easier nowadays to just go for the cheap punchline than actually get creative.

  2. Anonymous // February 01, 2009 12:02 PM  

    If Princess had been winning, Motorola and GoDaddy and Argent could've better used her in ads to highlight what they offer. But Danica craves celebrity limelight, GoDaddy is a tasteless company run by a crude dude, and I suppose that Whanica doesn't have the right to approve TV ad scripts... I did like the Target ads, Honda ads ...
    I lived in Phoenix for three+ years, I lived in Tampa for two decades, and now I'm in Philippines where cable TV provider doesn't show advertising! In all the advertising slots, we see promos for cable TV networks/channels and their shows. A nice reprieve from the crass commercials that I used to 'mute.'

  3. Anonymous // February 01, 2009 12:07 PM  

    I agree with you about the lack of humor point,Iannucci, because if anybody knows anything about lacking humor, it's you.

  4. Iannucci // February 01, 2009 12:14 PM  

    I agree with you about the lack of humor point, Iannucci, because if anybody knows anything about lacking humor, it's you.

    It's good to know that whenever I give you people softballs you faithfully hit them out of the park.

  5. Anonymous // February 01, 2009 12:16 PM  

    It's good to know that whenever I give you people softballs you faithfully hit them out of the park.


    Wasn't a softball, just truth.

  6. Anonymous // February 01, 2009 12:25 PM  

    CNN has an interesting take on the GoDaddy's ads.

    "race-car driver and pinup Danica Patrick"

    Wow, that is great for the sport

  7. Anonymous // February 01, 2009 2:20 PM  

    Those days were GREAT for the sport, a commercial is just that, a commercial and the constant whining about it just shows how uptight people can be about meaningless things.

  8. pressdog // February 01, 2009 2:30 PM  

    I don't know about you, but I think Danica's deltoids are impressive in the shower scene. Other than that, I give these low marks. At least Danica's beaver ad had some junior high humor going for it. The deal is, Daniker Inc. is going to do whatever makes her the most money. That's just a fact of life. We all need to deal with it.

  9. pressdog // February 01, 2009 6:24 PM  

    OK, I actually went to to see the "too hot for TV" ending for the shower thing. Lame. If it was any more lame, the whole thing would be on crutches. Lame and un-hot.

  10. Anonymous // February 02, 2009 6:57 AM  

    Message for all the Danica Bashers:

    Before Danica came on the scene the IRL was not on the public's radar in the least and if she goes over to NASCAR the IRL will be back in the same boat. In today's economic client with sponsors vanishing left and right that's the last thing we need. I don't see companies knocking on other IRL drivers doors for Super Bowl adds. The popularity of racing is driven by the personalities of it's drivers. So Love her or hate her, the IRL needs her (to thrive and maybe even survive) so deal with it!

  11. Anonymous // February 02, 2009 7:47 AM  

    There's a monkey who wears a little cowboy hat and rides a dog around in circles.

    It's funny for awhile, but then you just wish the monkey would win some races.

  12. The SpeedGeek // February 02, 2009 7:52 AM  

    More troll bait here, I suppose, but, yes. You got it, Anon. We're all Danica bashers. We're jealous, blah, blah. Nobody (I think) wants her to go away, guy, we all just wish she'd do a little more with her celebrity status than show off her "assets" and do dumb ads. Maybe plug some actual products? Hook up with a company that wants to use you as a mouthpiece (har, har, sorry) for their brand and not just a piece of semi-forgettable eye candy?

    I seriously don't understand who's whispering business advice in Dani's ear. Doing ads like this is...more along the lines of what I'd expect of Carmen Electra or Jenny McCarthy or somebody. Not someone who's trying to build a respectable, long-term business case for themselves as a sportsman. I know that The Cheapster isn't probably shopping for talent of her kind any time soon, but wouldn't she make a great spokesperson for someone like Target? She can be funny, at least if somebody else is writing her jokes. Couldn't you picture her in one of those Zanardi/Vasser-type ads? Or the old FedEx one?

    "We have several shipping options. Express, Overnight, or de Ferran."

    And that was in the days before Gil was winning all the time for Penske! You don't even have to be winning to sell stuff. Ask Michael Waltrip about that. Anyway, wouldn't she (and the rest of us, I guess) be better served if she did more stuff like that? It's just so disappointing to see a person who I admire on the track (even as that admiration dwindles with every passing race) do so little with the opportunity that they're given...

  13. Anonymous // February 02, 2009 12:03 PM  

    I have to say Danica is really good eye candy to most of us and I think your comment about her being semi-forgettable is rude.

    As far as doing so little? If the woman is happy living her life the way she wants who are you to judge? If she likes posing in swimsuits and doing mildly crass ads then just b/c she lives her life differently than we would doesn't give us the right to judge. Besides the only driver who generates interest in the IRL for the public generally and if she is getting the league exposure for being controversial, then in the economic time especially that is better than no expousre.

    Besides I like the ads and think you all Danica hating moralists ers are a bunch of prudes.

  14. Anonymous // February 02, 2009 1:34 PM  

    prude? Now that is funny. If you don't like the message, attack the messenger.

    At worst, the ads were only mildly suggestive, but certainly juvenile. Most rankings after the game placed them near the bottom of the list as far as popularity. Being ranked with some of the worst super bowl ads can't be a good thing for the Danica! brand.

    It is hard to see how she promotes the IRL as what she races is never mentioned. Probably a good thing, with CNN calling her a "pinup" model. How can the IRL be taken seriously if they have models driving the cars? Especially when the "model" promotes herself on her looks more that her achievements on the track.

    IMHO, she is becoming an embarrassment to real racers.

  15. SS Minnow // February 02, 2009 2:30 PM  

    Anyone else find it mildly ammusing that "Anonymous" debates themself? Paging Sally Field....

    Ok, I'm bored, Sue me. I guess at least she's not been caught on camera with a bong..... Yikes!

  16. Anonymous // February 02, 2009 5:43 PM  

    Folks, this ain't.

    You don't like the add, ignore it.

  17. Anonymous // February 02, 2009 5:45 PM I was trying to say.

    Folks, this ain't hard. You don't like the ad, just ignore it.

  18. Anonymous // February 02, 2009 6:25 PM  

    Unlike the numerous "Anonymous" posts... I've been a "public" Danica defender when the "princess" & "brat" nicknames pepper stories/ posts of her off track adventures featured @ MNI-IRL.

    I can't come to Ms. Patrick's defense on this low-class Super Bowl XLIII/ Go(Pimp) Daddy episode. Does she need the $$$ that bad? Her hefty Motorola deal is so low she has to HO herself for co-sponsor Pimp Daddy?

    I'm confused... does Pimp Daddy provide web domain registration assistance or Spank-O-Vision? What woman or man would trust this company?? From their adverts , they seem to be targeting the delusional or retarded, who think using Pimp Daddy gets them a web name & coupons for porn DVDs

    Danica needs new PR agents... ones that help her understand she has the option of REFUSING the "beaver" & "shower" nonsense.

    Funny... the other Go(Pimp) Daddy race car driver does RACING related adverts for the company. How come Dale Jr isn't making an arse out of himself on Super Sunday?

    If Ms. Patrick enjoys filming 30 second jag-off fantasies for Pimp Daddy... I suggest she notches a few more WINS in her day job this season

  19. John in Speedway // February 02, 2009 9:09 PM  

    I'm wonder how far some of the other drivers in the series would go to earn some sponsorship money in this economic climate. I'm sure RHR or Wilson would gladly dress up as a woman, stuff their shirts with socks, shave their legs, and put on makeup if it could get them some sponsorship. So there is no love lost from me. Danica: do what you gotta do. Any driver on the outside of the series looking in would gladly take your place if they could, I'm sure.

  20. Anonymous // February 03, 2009 3:36 AM  

    I think the fact that this is the 20th comment on this blog is a testament to the fact when it comes to the IRL, Danica is the face of the organization to the mainstream public. Unfortunately, without her the IRL has no face to mainstream America.

    As for her being an embarrassment to "real racers" I can't help wondering who that commentor was talking about. Danica was one of only a handful of racers to actually win an IRL race last year and finished a respectable 6th in the standings. Besides it's not her fault she is the only IRL racer who seems to know how to maket themselves. Sponsors want racer drivers with personalities to promote their products and it's not her fault she is the only IRL driver that really seems to have a personality that sponsors are drawn too (with a minor nod to Sarah Fisher too). If she goes to NASCAR she'll make even more loot and it will be a big lose to the IRL.

    Really, the bottom line is that it is just like Damon says "If you don't like the Ad don't watch it." It really is that simple.

  21. Anonymous // February 03, 2009 8:09 AM  

    Well "Anonymous"... you & Damon advise "Don't Like, Don't Watch..." There are a few problems with that

    (1) We watched (here or during the game) the ads.

    (2) This blog post is to discuss the Pimp Super Bowl ads & their content.

    (3) Due to the ratings the SB gets, & the fact that the commercials are viewed as much as the game & the halftime show... content can matter.

    Most of the ads go the humor route, some make 30 second or 1 minute mini movies Pimp commercials were NONE of the ABOVE!!!

    Worse? It featured the IRL's most well known "star". I have to now listen to non racing fans ask me endless stupid questions about Danica & her poor choice of PR.

    I think most of us understand that drivers have to work with their sponsor. Go(Pimp) Daddy has other race car drivers they sponsor...

    ...How come Dale Jr. didn't end up in the shower or talk about what he "enhanced"? I'll tell you why, because he said NFW, or Pimp Daddy had the balls NOT to even ask him! He understands that he has an image that means more than $$$.

  22. Anonymous // February 03, 2009 1:09 PM  

    good grief, there commericals everyone, get over it!