Danica Does Her Deal

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After an underwhelming and anti-climactic announcement that Danica Patrick is officially returning to the Izod IndyCar Series, I’ve read and heard several different takes on the subject. Actually, I’m sort of ho-hum about the whole ordeal but I do have a few opinions to share.

I guess I’m so lukewarm about the whole thing because of how long it took for the drama to play out. We have been subjected to the “What’s Danica going to do?” question since July and it, quite frankly, grew very tiresome. I think that’s why I’m left with such a “…whatever” attitude.

I’ve read where some are questioning the viability of her new sponsor Go Daddy as compared to the clout of her previous sponsor Motorola. Most people my age and older know who Motorola is, but those over fifty that don’t follow sports are not as likely to tell you exactly what Go Daddy does. There may be some guys in their twenties that can’t quite explain what they do, but they can sure relate to their commercials with the hot chicks. Danica fits into this category. I have no problem with the new sponsor. I think it falls in line with the demographics that the IRL is hoping the Izod sponsorship can deliver and Go Daddy has certainly shown that they will use their driver in all sorts of sponsor activated ads.

I have heard no financial details about the deal. I would be surprised if it matched the three-year, $21 million deal that Motorola agreed to for 2007. Quite honestly, until Danica started sporting the orange colors of Boost Mobile, I thought Motorola did a horrible job of utilizing their prized property. They missed a golden opportunity to cash in on their association with one of the biggest celebrities in sports. It was a perfect example of a sponsor simply signing a check to get their name on a sidepod, then wondering why they didn’t get their money’s worth.

All in all, it was certainly good for the Izod IndyCar Series that she has agreed to stay for two years with an option on a third. She continues to bring new eyes to our sport, especially during the Month of May. It was also good for Andretti Autosport who needed some good news after a disastrous 2009 season. Her continued involvement with the team should make other sponsorship deals come together for Marco’s car. It is pretty much assumed that Ryan Hunter-Reay will be filling a fourth seat at AA (or would it be AAS?) with help from Izod. Nothing against Hideki Mutoh who is by far, the best Japanese driver I have seen – but RHR will be a significant upgrade.

Now that they have announced that longtime IndyCar veteran Tom Anderson has been brought in as Andretti Autosport’s senior vice president of racing operations, hopefully they can upgrade some of the engineering staff – a deficiency ever since Eric Cowdin left Tony Kanaan’s team after the 2008 season to be Ryan Briscoe’s engineer at Team Penske.

But the most aesthetically pleasing thing about the deal is the slick paint job her car will be carrying next year. I never cared for the teal & black of her Motorola car. Something about that  Danica scheme seemed to be lacking. It improved somewhat at Indianapolis this past year when it changed over to the Boost livery and the teal changed to orange. Her new scheme is a nice use of black and day-glo green. It is eye-catching, yet tasteful. It has some subtle orange striping and is capped off with a unique chrome nosecone. According to James at 16th and Georgetown.com, all of the AA cars will be sporting the chrome nose. She has an equally bright green fire suit that looks pretty good also, but it probably wouldn’t look as good if Kanaan were wearing it.

So, Monday was a good day for the Izod IndyCar Series. Their biggest star is gauranteed to be here for at least two more years. She insists that her NASCAR dreams aren’t dead. Whatever. So long as she doesn’t embarrass herself over there, it can actually be good publicity for the series as she might bring some crossover fans from the Nationwide Series…assuming that’s where she will be running. My biggest concern is that it is only a two-year deal. That means as soon as the Centennial Celebration is officially over at the Speedway, we’ll spend the summer of 2011 wondering what Danica will do, all over again.

George Phillips

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22 Responses to “Danica Does Her Deal”

  1. The Motorola thing reminds me of when they sponsored PacWest in CART in the late-90′s, but did absolutely nowt with it. Again a case of slap the name on the side of the car and then wonder why nothing happens after zero follow-up.
    Other than that AA(S) are definitely looking like a stronger package next year.

    • Leigh: Remember PacWest owner Bruce McCaw made his $$$ in the cell phone biz. He had very large connections with MOTOROLA :idea: The Mark Blundell sponsorship was almost a glorified favor (although I remember print ads showcasing the car)

  2. Mr. 20 Prospect Says:

    George,

    I think you are right on about the difference between Motorola and Go Daddy. Regardless of what the financial details are for the sponsorship, having a sponsor like Go Daddy that is willing to activate the sponsorship, and fits with your target demographic is a better deal for the league. Motorola may have given Andretti-Green $21 to sponsor Danica, but the league got very little out of it. I too find it inexplicable why any company will pay that kind of money to sponsor someone, and then do nothing to cross promote. Motorola signed Danica at the height of her “hype”, they could have gotten a lot more out of the deal if they had done something, anything, to tie their brand to her image.

    For better, or worse, Go Daddy’s sleazy commercials have at least raised the profile of Danica, and IndyCar. To think that they were just a partial sponsor with more of a personal services contract with Danica than a full blown sponsor, you have to acknowledge the efforts they made. It will be interesting to see what Go Daddy does with it now that they are her Main Sponsor in both IndyCar and NationBusch. They have shown by their Superbowl ad buys, that they aren’t afraid to spend their money.

    So, despite the tediousness of the “What Will Danica Do?” chronicles this past year, I have to agree and say that this deal is a “win” for IndyCar. I will even go one step further and say that her part time ride in NationBusch is a good thing, as it will at least prolong the Danica hype machine a little longer, and bring more (free) publicity to IndyCar. Remember, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    • It’s not the sleaziness of the ads that’s so disturbing, frankly. No, it’s the putrid writing & moronic premises. Those commercials are aimed at the lowest-hanging fruit of society, and that reflects poorly on us all. “Raised profile” or not.

      (Sorry — I come to George’s site and I end up getting all analytical & serious & prudent. I’m sure the same thing would happen if I ever got to hang out with Dr. Stephen Hawking.)

      • Agreed Roy… I refer to Go Daddy as Pimp Daddy as they treat women like bimbos & must think their customers are 12 year old boys looking for an option to Spank-O-vision :idea: :!: :!:

        I like Danica despite those lowest common denominator ads. The car does look bold though

  3. Like it or not, Danica brings a ton of much-needed publicity to Indycar and for that reason alone she’s very important to the league. So I’m very happy she’s signed. The average non-Indy fan type person could probably name only one Indycar driver–her. Her participation in Nascar can only up her profile and bring more attention to Indycar.

  4. Trick Dickle Says:

    “The average non-Indy fan type person could probably name only one Indycar driver–her.”

    No, the average non-Indy fan probably thinks she is a NASCAR driver. Indy Car is a non-entity for 95% of people. When people say “race driver” they immediately think “NASCAR”.

    • Your 95% is being over dramatic. Even the non racing fans know NAPCAR has cars that “look like what they drive” & Indy cars have exposed wheels & wings

      • oilpressure Says:

        Sorry but I disagree. Here in the south, my co-workers see my TK car that sits on my desk and the Indy 500 picture on my wall in my office – yet they STILL think that I go to NASCAR races and that NASCAR is what I follow. And otherwise…these people are not idiots.

      • I respect your opinion, but the 3 female nurses at my dentist office all know Danica races “what they do at the Indy 500″. None of them are race fans I also live in metro Detroit which tends to know cars :?:

        When I went to Road Atlanta for the PLM… I was far from the track wearing a Red Bull F1 shirt & 50 something husband & wife asked me if that team raced with Danica :shock:

        However, I have had others who think its a NASCAR world too :(

  5. George: I agree that MOTOROLA didn’t do much with their 21 million, but ALL of Danica’s liveries & uniforms had solid (but subtle) design elements. That Blue Teal was close to a Motorola corporate color & I loved how the black featured the Dark Graphite triangle pattern. This carried over to her Alpinestars driving uniform too :idea: MOTO seems to target a more sophisticated, city living demographic… the Teal & Black colors would be “hip” to the night club / rave crowd IMO.

    I also liked the BOOST Orange update, but some of my friends would joke that Danica’s Dallara started to like the Great Pumpkin :!: The follow up joke was if Charlie Brown was her crew chief :!: :!:

    The other great thing about the arrival of BOOST was the wacky ads. Pimp Daddy.com should take a writing lesson from those adverts. “Controversial” can also be funny/ entertaining. :idea:

  6. I think the motorola sponsorship has been shaky for a while now which is why it was partnered out to boost last year as a perk to them. Izod sent a clear message on where the demographics were likely to go in the future, and that future does not include the prepaid cellular mkt. Now if she announces a nascar deal, I would not be surprised to see boost involved there. Motorola might have been able to use the iics deal to support new product launches, like the recent droid launch that brings you this very comment, but those tend to revolve around x-mas, right when iics shuts down. Iics by itself does not garner enough exposures to support a general awareness campaign, which without activation is all motorola was getting.

    • jp: BOOST Mobile is owned by Sprint /Nextel, so I doubt Sprint is going to send mixed messages to their NAPCAR demographic :idea: They want those people signing up for SPRINT.

      MOTOROLA supplies a helluva lot of phones to Sprint/ & Boost Mobile. This phone-service supplier threw an assist to their struggling phone maker :!: Grab the NASCAR crowd with Sprint & the smaller OW crowd with BOOST…. $$$ goes back to the pot of the parent company :!: :!:

      • It’s not about bigger/smaller it is about who is in which pot. Pre paid is the sub prime portion of the cellular market. People who buy izod have good enough credit to get a real cell, hence boost in a series poised to serve a more affluent crowd is a lousy fit. Not sure nascar has done the job they need to position cup vs nationwide vs truck as hitting different demos. Right now it is all about team budgets. If nascar managed their portfolio better then boost should be in nationwide which would have positioned to a subprime demo. Taking this one step further motorola could have used its ics deal to promo and pitch new high end phones like the droid. This convo has sparked an idea for a post on my page I hope to get up in a day or two. Not enough room in a comment section.

      • jp: I would argue that BOOST “dropping down” would be grabbing a demographic that already is watching NASCAR :idea: Sprint wants these people going nuts for their services.

        Sprint has been a disappointment on the stock market… they need to justify their ROI in spending a crapload of $$$ with their support of NASCAR’s tip series. Danica’s BOOST car & their smaller sponsorships in ALMS (the Risi Ferrari) & in Supercross give them the non NASCAR demographic.

        As for BOOST being exclusively “pay as you go” phone services… doesn’t seem like people who like Ferrari 430′s & moto-cross would be considered “sub prime” :idea: :idea: Just sayin’ :!:

      • ONLY VAGUELY RELATED TO INDYCAR RACING (NOT!)

      • Last I checked the Danica news cycle IndyFan… it included NAPCAR/ stockcar talk. Also jp & I are talking about former Danica/ICS sponsors so seems [i] vaguely related [/i] to me :idea: :roll:

        Besides this seems like a blog that embraces ALL RACING. Name is OILPRESSURE not INDY-PRESSURE :idea: :idea:

  7. Danica has a reputation allright, but it really isn’t the Izod Collegiate style that RHR captured. AS we have all seen in the past wee reputation in American sports is valued and my question is does Danica and “Go Daddy” really measure up to the Izod standard? If you watched Dancing with the Stars recently, it was very apparent that JoAnna, the PB model lost the competition probably because American families don’t really want to see HH and his twins….we also don’t like the “Go Daddy” commercials for our young driving audience because “kinky” isn’t that cool for 21 year olds….maybe 30-40 year olds. It was apparent from the Izod roll-out that the young audience is the target becauase “Fast, Fun, Easy and More” is what the kids respond to and that is the new market. The original Izod commercial is the complete opposite of Danica’s “Go-Daddy” brand. Confusion never works in marketing or advertising…BTW, Neon Green really is very provocative but the color and style reminded me of the 80′s super hero action figure. Danica doesn’t need to sell herself like white-trash and her talent for driving is now going to be a part of the American standard, just like Tiger!

  8. The American Mutt Says:

    George,

    12 and 0 buddy….12 and 0. sorry had to do it.

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