Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

August 25, 2011

Indy Car Says Sayonara to Mrs. Hospenthal

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 4:44 pm

Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons trotted his leather clad commercial face out today to announce the worst kept secret in motorsports. I honestly wish Danica well as she foregoes her oft-stated Indy 500 dreams for the slower, fendered behemoths. After all we are no longer dealing with a driver or even an accessible personality. We are dealing with a steel-faced brand managed by an entity whose only goal is raking in as many dollars as quickly and efficiently as is humanly possible. That brand has a shelf life. Even though Indy Car helped transform her from a driver/personality into a brand, a sub-brand is not what Indy Car needs. It needs to keep building its own brand and there is not really room for two different brands in the Indy Car brand maximization plan.

I did not used to feel that way but have talked to enough people in the sport to understand that promotion of a brand other than the core is probably a bad thing long term. What the sport needs are relatable, accessible personalities. Not individual brands.

We will definitely miss the scads of mostly hefty women who purchase bright green spandex then wedge themselves into it because in their minds they believe they can look like or relate closely to Danica. Their money spends really well and they drop a lot of it…more than for any other driver. That is perhaps the thing Indy Car will miss the most.

When Danica became a brand odd things began to happen. She is accompanied everywhere now by a foul-tempered chunky gal who acts (and occasionally looks) like a bulldog and moves folks out of the way. She uses a covered ‘popemobile’ golf cart. This May they moved her practice pit stall location from just north of Gasoline Alley to really far north, beyond the point where fans are allowed to go. That may have been to avoid the traffic jam of large green spandex bobbling flesh that clogged that vicinity like the 405 in rush hour.

There is really nothing wrong with Danica the person. The problem is now you have to dig through layers of needless subterfuge to find her. She may even drive the ‘stock’ cars pretty well.   From a brand culture standpoint she is probably a better fit in the NASCAR circus, where access to personalities is heavily scripted.

Indy Car has not lost a great driver. It has a lost a brand. It lost the personality she brought a few years ago. There are similar personalities that pre-dated her (Sarah Fisher) and there are similar personalities who can charm fans without having a brand in the way (Simona and Pippa). When folks do not concern themselves with gender new stars are being created all season (Hildebrand and Hinchcliffe).

So basically it is a time to feel good about a lot of things. Danica’s agency gets to leverage their brand and Indy Car gets to refocus on ALL the personalities that make it great. We already know the racing will be just as good, so no big deal. The right thing to do is wish her well and follow from afar if we choose.

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4 Comments »

  1. I won’t miss her a bit. I guess I was naive enough to think that Danica’s appearance in the IndyCar series was the beginning of something positive, but as Defender/Disciple indicated, it merely turned into yet another marketing ploy. Score yet another one for the profession of advertising, which we’ve been bombarded with all our lives. Maybe IndyCar will be better off, now that the Las Vegas-type garishness has been channeled elsewhere. Hopefully, the next “big” name that comes along will be a REAL race driver.

    Comment by DOUG — August 25, 2011 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  2. I wish her well. But the best news was the Go-Daddy dude said he had an announcement regarding continued involvement in INDYCAR next year.

    Comment by redcar — August 25, 2011 @ 5:12 pm | Reply

  3. I was wondering were Danica’s pit location was this last May. I agree, she belongs in NASCAR based on the points you have made. IndyCar drivers are accessable and fan friendly. Danica has chosen the path which takes her away from that realm. The inronic thing is, this accessablity and down to earth vibe was one of the elements that made NASCAR big.

    I used to commute on the 405 freeway to work five days a week for years and years.

    Comment by Mike Miller — August 26, 2011 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  4. Danica Patrick, Inc. is simply moving on to a more lucrative environment. Expect her
    debut in Cup full time to be met with her nude layout in Playboy Magazine. Feb, 2013 issue.

    Just watch.

    Comment by Bob F. — August 29, 2011 @ 1:12 pm | Reply


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