Internet services company GoDaddy has dropped Deutsch New York and appointed New York startup Barton F. Graf as its agency of record.
A business development manager’s dream account
This is the kind of account most jobbing business development managers dream of. And the choice seems an inspired one: as we noted in November last year, Barton F. Graf 9000 has established a well-deserved reputation since its launch in 2010 for memorably character-driven, frequently very funny ads.
It’s an approach that GoDaddy is very much in need of: it’s been working hard since 2012 to change its brand perception, as changes in ownership and in its own executive profile rendered its previous preferences for suggestively risqué ads have become less and less tenable. Its Super Bowl commercials were loaded with double entendrés and scantily clad women; but with women now acting in executive roles and increasingly becoming a major target audience of small business owners, that approach was frankly fast losing whatever appeal it might once have had.
Deutsch New York, which the company appointed in June 2012, attempted to shift the image in the direction of a more professional business persona, emphasizing its core business features (domain registration, web hosting, website design). Commercials adopted the theme of “Smart meets sexy” under Deutsch’s direction, including a 2013 Supers Bowl ad featuring a nerdy young man who kisses a supermodel.
But why, the inquiring business development manager will be asking, the switch from an established advertising juggernaut to a New York startup? According to Barb Rechterman, GoDaddy’s CMO in Scottsdale, Ariz, while they were pleased with Deutsch’s efforts, the company wanted to look beyond the Super Bowl and consider some new blood. The end result of the review was Barton F. Graf 9000.
Our jobbing business development manager may still want to know more about the young agency’s appeal to GoDaddy. Ms. Rechterman put it like this: “The agency is so much like our customer, starting from scratch, bootstrapping it.” As a consequence, she added, it “understands this customer much better.”
The agency’s founder and CEO, Gerry Graf, who describes himself as a satisfied former GoDaddy customer, said:
“[W]hen you look at what GoDaddy actually does, it helps millions of people. I know. I was a one-person business three years ago, and I used GoDaddy.”