January 30, 2010: People may be talking about football and thinking about baseball spring training, but Nascar is putting its marketing pedal to the medal to get its share of attention. This weekend, Nascar launched its partnership with cinema advertising company Screenvision to place content and activate programs in more than 2,400 movie theaters and on 15,000 screens nationwide.
Activation is anchored by a 90-second long-form content piece, produced by Nascar Media Group, that will air as part of each theater's pre-movie ad package. In addition, lobby kiosks and concessions are being made available to Nascar's corporate partners for sponsorship. The racing circuit could not have picked a better time for its in-theater launch as total box-office results are up this year versus 2009, thanks largely to Avatar and such crowd favorites as Edge of Darkness, The Book of Eli and Tooth Fairy.
Screenvision said that its studies show that 52% of peope remember the ads they see in-theater versus 36% who see ads on TV. Nascar's 2010 season officially begins Feb. 14 with the Daytona 500, but several top Nascar drivers are participating Jan. 30-31 in the Grand-Am Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in Florida, including four-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya and Bobby Labonte.
The 90-second commercial begins with driver Kyle Busch, decked in his M&M-sponsored race gear, talking to theater-goers. "If you're looking for a story about love-struck vampires, teenage wizards or, hey, even a Vegas bachelor party, then you're in the right seat. But if you want to be part of intense drama that starts with 3,500 lbs. of angry metal hurtling down straightaways at 200 MPH, where success is decided by a fraction of a second, then you want the Nascar Sprint Cup Series."
The mini-film then takes viewers on a fast-paced, quick-cut journey of race day highlights, including what seems to be a bevy of crashes, burns and blowouts. In addition to Busch, there are cameo appearances by Johnson, Tony Stewart, Mark Martin and other top drivers. It ends with a promo for Nascar programming available for Web-enabled Sprint mobile devices.
Nascar said the 90-second reel would run through Feb. 25 and estimated that it would be shown 1.1 million times. When the partnership was unveiled this past October, Nascar and Screenvision said it was prompted "in large part to the success of such movies as Days of Thunder, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Cars and Nascar 3-D: The Imax Experience."
“At the end of the day, this is all about celebrating the Nascar fans through our nationwide network of passionate consumers – and creating new in-cinema advertising platforms for Nascar sponsors," Andy Blacker, svp-marketing and research for Screenvision, said in a statement. “With this partnership, Screenvision is recognizing the tremendous potential of Nascar, and we are creating the first ever in-cinema platform for partners to wrap their brands around."
According to Steve Phelps, CMO for Nascar, the deal epitomizes the effort that the racing circuit is putting into growing its fan base while offering new opportunities for its marketing partners. “Screenvision will bring the excitement and drama of Nascar to a half billion moviegoers each year, including some who are avid fans and some who have yet to attend or watch a race on television. Fans want to experience our sport in every way possible, and we can’t wait for them to see and hear their favorite drivers running flat out on 40-foot screens with surround sound.”