GoDaddy pivots its approach to reaching entrepreneurs

After several high-profile campaigns with the Raptors, the company turns to explaining how it can help businesses evolve.

Over the last few years, GoDaddy Canada has become synonymous with the Toronto Raptors, as the web hosting platform has rolled out campaign after quirky campaign featuring some of the team’s biggest stars launching their own (cheeky) businesses using the web hosting platform.

But the brand has shifted strategies in its latest summer effort – a move that ultimately gives credence to the campaign’s “Shift Just Got Real” message: every business, including mom and pop stores, eventually need to innovate and grow. Which, in many cases, could mean launching a new online presence as well.

Creative for the campaign, led by Juniper Park\TBWA, features a fictitious business called Frank’s Movers. After throwing his back out on the job, the owner is suddenly forced to rethink the nature of his business. So, he opens Frank’s Falafels instead (and then rejigs his GoDaddy-powered company website accordingly). Wavemaker led on media buying and North Strategic on PR.

The “Shift Just Got Real” campaign focuses on the necessary pivots that often come with owning a business, says Anne De Aragon, who stepped in as VP and country manager of GoDaddy Canada on April 1. She is replacing Jill Schoolenberg, who remains based in Toronto but has been promoted to SVP for Canada, Australia and Latin America.

While the work is a departure from the Raptors-affiliated marketing the brand has been pumping out lately, De Aragon says the brand has always tended to shift to non-sports related efforts outside of the regular basketball season, which runs from the fall to the spring. For example, last June, it ran a series of commercials calling on customers to “try their hand” at building a website using GoDaddy’s website builder. Last spring, its campaign focused on how quickly a range of different ideas could be turned into a business with a new website.

“When we’re out of basketball season, it’s always been a part of our strategy to continue telling the GoDaddy story but inserting a complete different tone of voice,” she says.

The latest effort debuted on April 29 and includes TV, online video, social and some OOH in Toronto, with placements along the Gardiner Expressway. In addition, GoDaddy is running OOH ads in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and select maritime markets where its brand awareness isn’t as high as other parts of the country.

While that portion of the media spend is more robust than usual, GoDaddy isn’t able to benefit from the exposure that comes with its Raptors partnership. For those campaigns, the brand has access to in-stadium signage and the team’s social channels as well.

According to De Aragon, it remains uncertain whether GoDaddy will partner with the Raptors again this year. While it hopes to continue building on the relationship, her team is still in the early stages of planning its campaign for Q4.