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Thursday, October 18, 2012
Go Daddy supports Danica Patrick

By Brant James
Danica Patrick remains a "valued asset" and is far from being in limbo at Go Daddy, the Internet domain provider told ESPN.com Thursday. Go Daddy announced it had signed New York agency Deutsch Inc. to produce its two 30-second Super Bowl spots, the first time the company has gone outside for the ads it has done itself since 2005. USA Today Sports reported that Go Daddy's decision to hire Deutsch Inc. could signal that Patrick is losing traction with the company, especially because Deutsch Inc. might not include the popular driver in the Super Bowl ad. But Patrick, who has appeared in a celebrity-record 10 Super Bowl ads, still has a strong relationship and a future with the company, according to Go Daddy chief marketing officer Barb Rechterman. "Danica is a valued asset to our organization," Rechterman told ESPN.com. "We have each grown our brands together with great success. We plan to continue with Danica for years to come." Patrick is under consideration for more Super Bowl ads, her agent, Mark Dyer of IMG, said and "would like to continue her streak." Go Daddy announced the signing of Deutsch Inc. in a news release Thursday, emphasizing its goal of "repositioning sexy." The release was laced with Go Daddy's typical attempts to generate speculation, including whether Patrick would be involved. Patrick was quoted in the release as saying she hoped she would be utilized. "We have had measurable success with Danica, no doubt about it," Go Daddy founder and vociferous Patrick benefactor Bob Parsons said. "When you think about our new definition of 'sexy' as success, ambition and a drive to succeed with an online presence ... Danica certainly fits that bill." Dyer refuted reports that Patrick's contract with Go Daddy expires after 2013, stating that she has a multiyear deal in place as she begins her full-time Sprint Cup career next season with Stewart-Haas Racing. "When we sat down last year and decided on going to a full-time (Sprint Cup) program, Go Daddy made a multiyear commitment to that program because the last thing you want is a rookie driver being in a pressurized scenario of one year, perform or lose your ride," Dyer told ESPN.com. "We've seen that before with bad results with developing drivers. "They made a strong commitment to give her the right budget and the right timeline to be successful. Really, this started with us three years ago when they agreed with our plan to do the full-time (IndyCar) for two years and part-time NASCAR to see if this was going to work for all involved. We've always been in perfect sync with Go Daddy about how to approach this as far as a commitment standpoint." Though her role as a TV spokesperson has been assumed by actors, Patrick was featured with IndyCar counterpart James Hinchcliffe in a series of ads this season in which they sparred in a nonexistent competition for the main presence on the Go Daddy home page. The publicity stunt had germinated with a Hinchliffe social media campaign and culminated in him being temporarily awarded the home-page perch. Patrick has since returned to her customary spot atop the page. Dyer and Go Daddy also discounted contentions that Patrick's ability to coerce consumers had waned because her Q rating -- which tracks likability for endorsers -- had dropped from 29 to 19 in two seasons. Go Daddy also pointed to Patrick's standing as one of the top Q rating female athletes and her superior standing to most NASCAR drivers. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.