SBJ/August 16 - 22, 2004/This Weeks Issue

NASCAR ads getting serious to promote new title format

NASCAR will unveil a national print and television advertising campaign to promote its new “Chase for the Nextel Cup,” highlighted by 50 million free-standing inserts in national Sunday newspapers on Sept. 12.

Two television ads, which will begin airing next month, also will be part of the campaign, said Roger VanDerSnick, managing director of brand and consumer marketing for NASCAR.

NASCAR’s newspaper insert will include a promotion for Domino’s Pizza.
VanDerSnick would not reveal which drivers will be featured in the ads, but he did say that they would have a serious tone with dramatic music to mirror the “exciting and bold” championship format. The ads will run in-race and out-of-race on TNT, said VanDerSnick, who wouldn’t identify any other networks on which the ads will appear.

NBC and TNT broadcast the second half of the Nextel Cup season.

NASCAR’s new scoring system, which debuts this year, begins Sept. 19. After years of a traditional scoring system in which yearlong performance determined NASCAR’s champion, the chase pits the top 10 drivers in a 10-race “postseason” for the Nextel Cup championship. The idea is to increase excitement — and TV ratings — during the last two months of the season.

“The big issue is to build awareness,” said Jay Abraham, president and CEO of NASCAR Images, who is in charge of producing the TV spots. “We want to educate consumers on what the chase really is.”

The newspaper insert, which has a tune-in message for the first chase race in New Hampshire, will include promos for Domino’s Pizza and NASCAR-licensed products. A code found on the insert will offer 20 percent off NASCAR-licensed merchandise on nascar.com.

A free-standing insert is usually comprised of 10 pages of coupons or promo offers. The inserts will appear in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Detroit News, Houston Chronicle and Charlotte Observer, among other publications.

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