By Barry Janoff
February 19, 2013: Calling it the most "comprehensive and integrated campaign" it has ever launched, Nascar has unveiled a multi-media effort that encompasses TV, print, in-track, Internet and social media both in English and Spanish versions; and has enlisted dozens of current drivers and icons to bring it all to life.
The campaign revs up as Nascar is preparing for its Super Bowl, aka the Daytona 500, which will be run on Feb. 24 (live on Fox) as the official launch to the 2013 racing season.
In the marketing push, Nascar goes where no other sports organizations dare to tread. While showing off the best of what Nascar brings to fans — including the races, competition and unique camaraderie and atmosphere — the racing circuit also highlights the crashes, driver brawls and cursing that comes with the package.
This would be akin to MLB showing Juan Marichal bloodying Johnny Roseboro's head with a bat back in 1965, the NFL highlighting players getting carried off the field on a stretcher after a tackle or the NBA
spotlighting Ron Artest, then with the Indiana Pacers, running into the stands to fight with fans during a 2004 game in Detroit in an incident infamously known as the Malice in the Palace.
The campaign will run across Nascar's media partners, including TNT, ESPN, Speed, Fox and Fox Desportes, which on Feb. 24 will make TV history when it airs live the Spanish-language broadcast of the Daytona 500, the first Nascar Sprint Cup race to be carried as such.
Lead agency is Ogilvy & Mather North America, and sibling Ogilvy Rojo, which handled the Hispanic arm of the campaign.
Companies also are lining up with marketing efforts in anticipation of the Daytona 500 and start of the 2013 racing season, including FedEx, which this week breaks a series of commercials starring top driver Denny Hamlin.
FedEx, which has been a Nascar sponsor since 2005, said it would leverage the relationship "as a way to reinforce its speed of delivery message."
Hamlin, who drives the No. 11 FedEx car, stars in an all-digital campaign that proclaims, “FedEx Ground is faster to more locations than UPS Ground.” Commercials will run on YouTube, Nascar.com and a FedEx Web site dedicate to racing.
Rich media banners, which also house an interactive racing game, will run on racing-specific sites such as Turner Sports and Nascar.com. Lead agency is BBDO, NY.
Regarding its brand campaign, Nascar vp-marketing Kim Brink explained, “The campaign was created to excite existing fans while engaging with new audiences, and is representative of where Nascar is headed as a sport. In developing the spots, we wanted to celebrate the heart of what makes our sport unique, challenge existing perceptions, inspire the entire industry and do it all as authentically and confidently as possible.”
In anticipation of the 2013 season, Nascar recently reacquired its digital rights from Turner Sports and unveiled the Gen-6 race cars.
Among the anchor commercials is "Twist," an ode to racing, the drivers and the action on and off the track that make Nascar percolate. Among those included in the 60-second version are Danica Patrick (who this Sunday will be starting the Daytona 500 from the pole position), Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer, with the latter two seen in their classic pit row brawl from last season.
A voiceover explains, "For every turn, a twist. For every start, an untimed finish (as we see the beginnings of a crash). For every win, someone who loses it. For every number, a nation. For every celebration, a brawl. For every split-second, years of work. For every heaven, a hell. For every good ole boy, a good ole girl (with a shot a Patrick). For every curse, a prayer. For every ounce of order, a jug of chaos. For every twist, there's a turn."
(See the full spot here.)
In "Rivals," which will air in both English and Spanish, current and legendary drivers explain the need for competition."To have a rivalry, you need a rival. A David for a Goliath A Hatfield for a McCoy."
Cale Yarborough then offers, "For every Cale Yarborough a Bobby Allison."
Brad Keselowski then says, "In order to finish first . . . " and the thought is finished by Clint Boyer, who says, ". . . somebody has to finish second." To which Kasey Kahne replies, "I hate to finish second." Jimmie Johnson observers, "Love your rivals." To which Keselowski concludes, "Because you need someone to beat."
(See the full spot here.)
Other spots that will air during the season include:
• Chess (English and Spanish), which shows a race as a game of chess, with drivers plotting their positions several moves ahead.
• Resumé, which takes a humorous look at the personalities of the drivers as they vie for a spot on fans’ Nascar Fantasy Live rosters.
* Wanna Know, which focuses on the recently revamped Nascar.com and other digital fan engagement products as seen through the eyes of the drivers.
According to John Seifert, chairman and CEO for Ogilvy & Mather North America, “There’s no sport in the world with a more loyal and passionate fan base than Nascar. [And] drivers are what make Nascar racing so dramatic and unpredictable for everyone. To bring the Nascar experience to life, we helped create a brand platform that reflects the roots and character of what makes Nascar unique, personified by remarkable athletes who will ensure that this sport remains the greatest show on earth."
We see the humorous side of Denny Hamlin in his three spots in which FedEx pits its FedEx Ground directly against rival UPS.
In "Eggs," Hamlin goes into a hen house, goes to a hen who has just laid an egg, and pulls out a plate of cooked sunnyside-up eggs. Text offers," Make sure to use FedEx Ground when shipping your package. Because whether you're shipping a package or making a couple of delicious eggs, it's good to be fast. (See the spot here.)
"Sweater" finds Hamlin is sheering sheep and immediately standing up with a fully knitted wool sweater. "What do you think?" he asks the sheep. A voiceover explains, "FedEx Ground is faster to more locations that UPS Ground." Text supports, Make sure to use FedEx Ground when shipping your package. Because whether you're shipping a package or knitting a wool sweater, it's good to be fast. (See the spot here.)
And in "Tea," Hamlin puts water in a tea kettle, puts the kettle on a burner and has hot water in three seconds, with text explaining, "Make sure to use FedEx Ground when shipping your package. Because whether you're shipping a package or making tea, it's good to be fast." (See the spot here.)
In addition to the brand campaign, Nascar said it would continue to focus on seven planks strategically aimed at growing the sport: "Gen Y, Youth, Multicultural, Digital/Social Media, Event Experience, Product Relevance and a focus on Driver Star Power."
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