SBD/Issue 28/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Truth Be Told: Tony Stewart Passes Polygraph Test In BK Promo

Stewart Proves His Love For The Whopper
By Successfully Passing Lie Detector Test
NASCAR driver/team owner Tony Stewart yesterday proved he did in fact love the Whopper by successfully passing a lie detector test as part of a Burger King promotion. Stewart participated in a live hour-long polygraph test on that included questions submitted by fans as part of the "Tony Stewart School of Endorsements" campaign. Stewart, who wore a shirt with logos for Burger King, Office Depot and Old Spice, said the test and atmosphere "feels like playing 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.'" When asked by Fox' Matt Yocum, who moderated the test, whether he was worried he might fail the final question concerning his fondness for the QSR's signature hamburger, Stewart said, "Not really, because I really do love the Whopper." Stewart was caught lying seven times, including questions about whether he goes on dates a lot, if he checks out women in the stands during races and if he has ever raced sans underwear in his fire suit. He appeared most upset when he lied on a question asking if he had a special toy or blanket when he was a little kid. The expert who administered the polygraph test said Stewart is a "better driver than a liar." Stewart: "I'm glad none of my ex-girlfriends submitted questions" (Jessica Collins, THE DAILY).'s David Whitley wrote Stewart "deserves credit for proving he puts his mouth where his endorsement money is" (, 10/20). AD WEEK's Brian Morrissey wrote Burger King "showed admirable restraint not making it all about burgers." Of the "30-odd questions, five came from the brand." Morrissey: "All in all, it was pretty entertaining, even for someone who has never watched a NASCAR race in his life, though it probably lasted a bit too long and at times seemed contrived" (, 10/20).

CROSSOVER APPEAL: NASCAR SCENE's Jeff Gluck wrote "one of NASCAR's most important marketing tools" are commercials featuring drivers who "cross over into mainstream sports telecasts." NASCAR is "constantly searching for ways to penetrate the 'stick-and-ball' sports market and attract new fans, occasionally with a little success." But as the league "well understands, a terrific way to spread its message is to have sponsors that use the drivers in advertising campaigns." Most drivers are "featured in commercials that play only during races." But Stewart has "gotten the most non-racing airtime this year through the Old Spice commercials and now the Burger King ads." Stewart's ads are "good for the sport because he's clearly identified as a race-car driver" (, 10/19).

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