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GoDaddy appoints Barton F. Graf 9000 as lead agency

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.

Under­stand­ing boot­strap­pers 

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.”

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