SBD/Issue 103/NASCAR Season Preview

NASCAR Advertisers Rev Up New Creatives Around Daytona 500

With the Daytona 500 both the first and most prestigious race on the Nextel Cup circuit, NASCAR has been successful in encouraging sponsors to build new creatives around the event. There are at least 12 companies that plan to debut new spots Sunday during Fox’ broadcast of the race.

UPS: UPS will debut the latest spot in its continuing “Race the Truck” campaign with Dale Jarrett in which he is searching for the ultimate pit crew. With Jarrett moving from Robert Yates Racing to Michael Waltrip Racing this year, UPS spokesperson Steve Holmes said the change is “heavily integrated” into the campaign. Holmes: “It is a new team and a new car. We will be focusing on [Waltrip] building that team for Dale.” The ads, via the Martin Agency, Richmond, will air only during racing coverage, as Holmes said the company consciously decided “to keep our overall brand advertising very separate from the NASCAR advertising.”

ALLSTATE: Allstate is expanding on its popular “Girls Day Out” campaign with two new spots via Leo Burnett, Chicago. Allstate Marketing Manager Stacey Zipse said, “We wanted to keep the momentum of our successful campaign going, and the Daytona 500 just seemed like the perfect timing to launch everything.” Kasey Kahne is again cast as the object of affection in the ads, and Zipse said he is especially appealing to the company because he is “young, energetic and vibrant.” The campaign will appear throughout the NASCAR season during Nextel Cup and Busch Series races.

COCA-COLA: Coca-Cola will break a new spot promoting its “My Coke Rewards” Web site. The ad features animated versions of NASCAR drivers traveling cross-country to give Coke drinkers NASCAR rewards. Coca-Cola North America Dir of Communications Susan McDermott said, “We typically create a new NASCAR-themed Coca-Cola ad that breaks during the Daytona 500 and runs throughout the racing season.” McDermott said the commercial will air primarily on NASCAR broadcasts, but also “in some other sports programming.”

DIRECTV: DirecTV will promote its “NASCAR HotPass” service with a spot via Deutsch, L.A., featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr. explaining the product while doing doughnuts on a racetrack. DirecTV Senior VP/Advertising & PR Jon Gieselman said of Daytona, “It’s the kick-off and biggest race of the season, it reaches nearly all NASCAR fans and provides us the opportunity to reach a tremendous general sports audience as well.” The spot will run during NASCAR-related and cable sports programming in the coming weeks.

OTHER NEW CREATIVES: Several other companies are unveiling new creatives during the telecast. Budweiser will debut a 60-second spot via DDB Worldwide, Chicago, with Earnhardt Jr. called “Apocalypse,” while Greg Biffle will appear in the first NASCAR-themed ad from Oreos. Tony Stewart stars in a spot for The Home Depot, and he will appear along with Dale Earnhardt Sr. in a spot for Chevrolet similar to its Super Bowl XLI ad that uses a video montage of past and present footage. Stewart and Kahne will star in separate Sunoco commercials. Sprint Nextel will debut a pair of ads featuring several drivers, including ’06 Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson. Toyota and Gillette also are scheduled to air new commercials.

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