SBD/June 5, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Jimmie Johnson Wears "Madagascar 3" Wig As Part Of Promotion For Movie

Johnson received the wig from a gift bag given to his daugther
The “hilarity” of NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson wearing a colorful wig and “stoically conducting interviews, including live on Fox, with it on -- gave the movie ‘Madagascar 3’ untold exposure” before and after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 at Dover on Sunday, according to Chad Leistikow of USA TODAY. Johnson’s car during the race was sponsored by the movie. Wearing the “now-famous wig (which is worn by the Chris Rock-voiced animal character in the movie trailer) was an impromptu decision by Johnson, who got it from a young girl two hours before” the race on Sunday. The wig was “in a gift bag the girl made for Johnson’s daughter, Genevieve, during a joint DreamWorks Animation and Lowe’s event.” Johnson said, “I wore it to driver introductions just to get a laugh. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up.” Leistikow notes Johnson’s crew members “soon requested their own wigs” (USA TODAY, 6/5).

STILL FUNNY? ESPN’s Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser were asked, “Is Jimmie Johnson’s wig still funny when you learn it’s part of a commercial tie-in?” Wilbon: “Maybe a little less funny. You wonder about some of these things now and whether or not it’s product placement. What seems funny can be very calculated because smart marketing people understand how to place their product and be funny.” Kornheiser said, “I don’t wonder at all about product placement. Product placement is all over NASCAR drivers, that’s what they do. They’re human billboards and if he’s making a little extra money for tying into a movie, I’m okay with it” (“PTI,” ESPN, 6/4).
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