NASCAR star Danica Patrick is reportedly on shaky ground with longtime sponsor GoDaddy.com after USA Today Sports indicated that the company, which has not featured her in an ad for months, has no plans through January to use her in a spot:
"The question at hand is: Is she in the Super Bowl or not?" says Barb Rechterman, chief marketing officer at Go Daddy. "What we're trying to do is redefine sexy to be a small-business owner running a successful business. So we want to explore options of how we make our advertising new."
Patrick's appearance in a Super Bowl ad has become somewhat of a tradition; she has appeared in more Super Bowl ads than any other celebrity, including Michael Jordan and Cindy Crawford. Her contract with Go Daddy runs through 2013, so it's possible she could still be slated for a commercial in February's Super Bowl.
Patrick released the following statement through GoDaddy.com:
"I absolutely hope I am in the new Go Daddy Super Bowl commercials. I don't think it would feel quite like a Super Bowl if we don't do the commercials again this year."
But Henry Schafer, executive vice president at The Q Scores Co., said her "likability" has gone down this year. The company tracks the marketability of athletes through a score-rating system. Patrick rated a 29 in 2010 but a 19 in 2012. The average Q score for a race car driver, according to the report, is 13:
"It raises a warning signal to evaluate the strength of her emotional connection with consumers," says Henry SchaferPatrick, who has previously won the IndyCar Series, is currently the most successful female in American open-wheel racing history. She is the only woman to win the IndyCar Series and her third place finish at the Indianapolis 500 is on record as being the highest finish by any woman at the event.