SBD/July 19, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Nationwide Rolls Out New Ad Campaign Featuring Dale Jr., Danica

Ads featuring Patrick and Earnhardt will debut during Olympic Opening Ceremony
Nationwide Insurance has turned to NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick for a new ad campaign “which kicks off during the opening ceremony” of the London Games, according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. Nationwide’s new campaign is a “less irreverent series of commercials designed to sell the mutual company as a Main Street alternative to its publicly held competitors.” Nationwide Exec VP and Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer Matt Jauchius said that Earnhardt and Patrick were “the right fit to convey a softer, humanized message.” Jauchius: “They are popular and transcendent, but, equally important, their personal brands are so aligned with our brand.” The campaign, which includes a voice-over from actress Julia Roberts, will "have a tone more like the racetrack commercials featuring Earnhardt and Patrick that began appearing last year to help showcase” the company’s NASCAR title sponsorship. Jauchius will appear “with Earnhardt in the new series of ads July 28 during the Indy 250, the first Nationwide race" at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Nationwide is in the fifth year of a seven-year deal to title sponsor NASCAR's No. 2 series, and Jauchius said that negotiations “would begin next year with NASCAR on an extension.” Business attributed by the company to its NASCAR sponsorship “grew 40% during the first quarter of 2011” (USA TODAY, 7/19). SPORTING NEWS’ Bob Pockrass wrote Nationwide for the first time is using its NASCAR connection to help launch a new ad campaign called “Join the Nation.” The ads also will feature “NASCAR personalities Ned and Dale Jarrett, speaking as customers.” Pockrass noted Nationwide asked Earnhardt to “shave his beard for the commercial and to not wear sunglasses” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/18).
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