GoDaddy wants to give small-business owners the tools they need to be successful, even if that means supporting the dreams of an artist who likes to create sculptures out of cheese.
Today, the web-domain company and its new creative agency, TBWA New York, are launching a digital and TV campaign called "Heads of Cheese." The story follows Fred, an artist who runs HeadsOfCheese.com and loves to create sculptures—specifically of Shaquille O'Neal.
"Fred's works of art are the product of a lifelong passion for all things aged dairy," reads Fred's website that, of course, was created with GoDaddy's software. "But cheese is a temperamental muse. It's taken years of dedication to the craft of cheesemongering and a mastery of his tools to perfect this medium."
In addition to the 30-second TV spot, GoDaddy is launching a new Twitter account, @Shaqincheese, that plays off the concept. It's not the first time GoDaddy has created a character on Twitter. Before pulling its 2015 Super Bowl puppy ad, the dog had its own account to build hype before the game.
This time, the brand's tweets focus on the former basketball player.
For example, GoDaddy may mention Shaq in a post about getting better (or worse) with age. Or, the fake account may riff on the fact that O'Neal only made one three-pointer in his career.
GoDaddy's social team will also be watching to see if O'Neal responds to the tweets so it can fire back a post. In addition to Twitter, the brand will also use Facebook and Instagram.
O'Neal is at least partly in on the joke, though. According to GoDaddy reps, he is aware that the brand created a bust of him made out of Swiss cheese to be used in the commercial.
"The idea is that often times when we have a big idea, family and friends say we're crazy to pursue it," said GoDaddy CMO Phil Bienert. "This new campaign is inspired by that against-all-odds faith. We want customers to know that once they think they can accomplish their ambitious goals, we are here to help them."
The video is part of a series of spots that spotlight odd and interesting business ideas—like the story behind a woman who sets up a website for her business that makes hats for cats named, you guessed it, Cats With Hats.
Both spots are airing in the U.S. and Canada and are running during ABC's entrepreneurially focused Shark Tank, ESPN and CNBC.
There are also international ads in Asia, Brazil and India that "are less about humor and more aspirational," according to Bienert.
"The stories are realistic and gritty, making the point about the moxie that it takes to run a small business," he said.
He added that the ads and social component work more like small stories than the full-blown TV spots GoDaddy is known for, particularly with its move away from the Super Bowl.
"We're producing more than just TV commercials, which is the biggest difference from previous work we've done where the campaign was basically a stand-alone with a longer web version," Bienert said.