Why GoDaddy is passing the baton to entrepreneurs

The web hosting company is tweaking its sports strategy to show a realistic view of what small business owners are facing.
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Though it is continuing to build a more relatable connection to small business owners, GoDaddy is still finding a way to keep one foot in the sports arena.

The web hosting company’s latest integrated campaign, “No Celebrity Necessary,” reveals its latest athlete spokesperson in Canadian Olympian Andre De Grasse. But he takes more of an emcee role, introducing the two real stars of the creative: Karlie Ramlogan, owner of personal training company IS Training, and Anthony Stanberry, founder of children’s comic book publisher Freeze DNA, both GoDaddy small business clients.

“This year, it was important for us to showcase real Canadian business owners who have seen success with their websites, and make them the stars of the campaign,” said Anne de Aragon, VP and country manager of GoDaddy Canada. “With more businesses moving online, especially during these challenging times, we want to highlight how easy and affordable it is for small businesses owners to create an online presence.”

However, Young Lee, GoDaddy’s director of marketing, adds that sports remains a key means of reaching small business owners, as it has paid dividends for the brand in the pastLee says that, in recent years, it has mostly been going to market with Raptor-linked campaigns tied to the beginning of the NBA season in October. GoDaddy has also tapped NFLer Laurent Duvernay-Tardif as well as alpine ski star Erik Guay for its creative in Quebec.

This campaign with De Grasse, however, allows the brand to keep sports top of mind – and get the recognition boost a familiar face offers – with a creative concept makes it clear that GoDaddy’s clients are the stars, with the Olympian playing more of a “cheerleader role,” Lee says.

“We wanted to represent the everyday entrepreneur,” Lee says, adding that the duo’s stories will broadly resonate as their businesses are so different from one another.

The small business owner – particularly those with fewer than nine employees, or those that have yet to get their ideas off the ground – continues to be GoDaddy’s main target. The brand’s Raptors campaigns were somewhat kookier, with players selling miniature figurines, albums and pajamas. While the brand is still taking a lighthearted approach, it has also continuing its efforts to be a bit more grounded, as Lee says it is important to paint a more realistic picture of the challenges small business owners are facing now.

Even as relatively younger competitors like Squarespace and Wix increase their presence in market, Lee says GoDaddy’s differentiator continues to be its offer of end-to-end website building, marketing and security solutions for small businesses, all of which De Grasse runs through in the new campaign.

The latest campaign will be on broadcast TV, pre-roll, online video, social, as well as OOH. Juniper Park\TBWA led creative, with North Strategic on PR and social and Wavemaker on media.