Tony Stewart Enlists Erik Estrada, Carrot Top For Burger King Campaign

Tony Stewart teaches students about the pros and cons of product endorsements.Erik Estrada hawks "Esss-traa-daa" sunglasses in new Burger King commercial.September 8, 2009: In these time of economic challenges, Burger King and Tony Stewart are turning altruistic for an ad campaign in which the Nascar driver will show other "celebrities" how to be successful with endorsements. The humorous effort, “The Tony Stewart School of Endorsements,” will show Stewart in four TV spots advising such "stars" as actor Erik Estrada, best known for his role as Ponch" Poncherello in the TV show CHiPs (1977-83), and comic Carrot Top, on endorsement pros and cons.

Support for the campaign, which touts the Whopper as Stewart’s favorite Burger King menu item, will also include Internet, anchored by an hour-long Webcast on Oct. 20 starring Stewart; in-store merchandising and a consumer sweepstakes. In addition, Stewart's No. 14 Burger King Chevrolet Impala SS will have a prominent Burger King paint scheme during the AAA 400 race weekend Sept. 25-27 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

Stewart, who is currently leading the Nascar standings in the "Chase for the Cup" as a driver/owner with Stewart-Haas Racing, signed a multi-year deal with Burger King in July. Burger King's lead agency is Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami.

In the first self-titled spot, Stewart explains to students that they should “only endorse things you believe in," offering his devotion to the Whopper as a prime example. Estrada asks Stewart, "Why is no one buying my Erik Estrada sunglasses," which are oversized and emblazoned with the name "Estrada" across them.  [Burger King has actually created a Web site for the glasses, which comes with the disclaimer, "This product is entirely fictional and not for sale. If it were real, Tony Stewart probably wouldn't endorse it."] Carrot Top says, "Look at me. I have a million carrot crusher [machines] to unload. How do you do it, Tony?" [A Web site for this product also exists, with the same disclaimer as Estrada's.]

Three additional ads will be released throughout the campaign, culminating with “Polygraph Prep,” which finds Stewart hooked up to a polygraph machine to test his honesty about the Whopper endorsement. Stewart and Burger King will move the theme online where the driver will engage in a live polygraph test during the Oct. 20 Webcast at www.Truthabouttony.com. Beginning Sept. 28, consumers will be invited to submit and vote on questions that Stewart may answer.

Customers at Burger King will have a chance to win daily prizes such as BK Crown Cards and merchandise. The sweepstakes is offering as a grand prize the "Ultimate Tony Stewart Experience," including a day at Stewart’s race shop for themselves and three others. Details are available at participating Burger Kings and at www.BK.com or www.BKracing.com.

“Tony’s enthusiasm for the flame-fresh taste of the Whopper sandwich is one of the key drivers of this partnership,” Russ Klein, president of global marketing, strategy and innovation for Burger King Corp., said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to bring his passion to life through this campaign and equally excited to be working with him in the coming years as part of our overall commitment to Nascar.”

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