SBJ/October 18-24, 2010/People and Pop Culture

Amp tabs Terry Gilliam for ‘Hallowdega’ film

Hallowdega poster
The film is based on the legends surrounding Talladega Superspeedway.
Amp Energy will bring the tall tales and legendary ghost stories of Talladega to life this Halloween with a fictional film from award-winning director Terry Gilliam.

“The Legend of Hallowdega,” which stars David Arquette and Justin Kirk, is part of Pepsi and Amp Energy’s effort to take one of the brand’s most recognizable assets — its title rights to the Amp Energy Juice 500 at Talladega Superspeedway — and use it to engage not only NASCAR fans but also non-race fans and filmophiles who follow Gilliam.

“We had this dual audience objective,” said George Cox, assistant marketing manager, Pepsi Sports. “The theme we really latched onto was the fact that our race was on Halloween. That’s something that’s interesting to adults no matter what their interests are.”

The Amp Energy team commissioned Gilliam, who originally gained fame as part of the Monty Python troupe and also directed such cult hits as “The Fisher King” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” to develop a film that featured the history of the famed racetrack. Talladega is built on a former American Indian burial ground and has always been rumored to be haunted. In 1973, Bobby Isaac pulled out of a race he was leading after saying he heard a mysterious voice tell him to pull off the track.

Gilliam used tall tales like Isaac’s as a jumping off point for a fictional story that follows Kirk and Arquette as they try to get to the bottom of a mystery known as “The Legend of Hallowdega.”

The 12- to 15-minute film premiered last Friday in Los Angeles. It will be shown in mobile movie theaters Halloween weekend at Talladega. A two-minute segment from the film will air during ESPN’s race broadcast and the entire film will be available at after the race.

Amp Energy expanded its marketing budget for the Talladega race in order to develop the film. To measure the return on its investment, the brand will monitor paid media and earned media impressions.
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