By Barry Janoff
October 15, 2014: Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to start your Dale Earnhardt Jr. engine callers.
This past February, during the Super Bowl XLVIII pre-game telecast, Diet Mountain Dew premiered “Dale Call,” a TV spot in which duck hunters used a device that replicated the sound of a revving Nascar engine that immediately attracted Earnhardt Jr. and his No. 88 Chevy SS.
The spot was so popular — more than 4.5 million views on YouTube since then — that it not only has spawned a follow-up commercial but a life-imitating-art moment: People can purchase their own Dale Caller through Nascar.
In addition, Earnhardt Jr. will celebrate the “Dale Call” release by debuting a #DaleCall image on the rear bumper of his No. 88 Chevy SS at this weekend’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Geico 500 race in the Talladega Superspeedway, Lincoln, Al.
For those wishing to give Earnhardt Jr. a rousing welcome, the limited-edition “Dale Call” can be purchased beginning this week from Nascar.com, on-track and via select online retailers.
Based on past experience, the could be a significant number of Dale Callers sold. Earnhardt is among the most popular athletes in the U.S., trailing only LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant, according to a recent Harris Poll.
In addition to Diet Mt. Dew, his marketing partners include Nationwide, Amp Energy, Wrangler, Chevrolet, Breyers, eBay and TaxSlayer.com. A long-term deal he has had with the National Guard is ending after this season. He earns about $14 million in endorsements, according to industry analysts.
In the new spot, "Dale Call With Brad," Earnhardt Jr.'s friend, Brad, is sitting in Earnhardt Jr. car in the driver's garage. He has a "Dale Call," which he activates, bringing Dale into the garage.
"Hey, man, what's up?" asks Earnhardt Jr.
"Nothing, man," says Brad. "Just revving' the motor to see what it sounds like. Sounds good."
"You 'Dale called' me," says Earnhardt Jr.
"No, man. It's the engine," says Brad, who smiles when Earnhardt Jr. walks away. He blows into the Dale Call again, and the scene repeats itself, with Earnhardt Jr. growing ever frustrated.
The spot ends by directing people to get their own Dale Call. Then, in an epilogue, Brad gets busted when Earnhardt Jr. sees him using the Dale Call in the kitchen.
Lead agency is BBDO, NY. (See the full spot here.)