For the first time ever, NASCAR and ESPN are working together to launch an integrated marketing campaign to elevate the 10th Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on ESPN. The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is NASCAR’s version of the playoffs, where the sport’s top 12 drivers compete to become the next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. With the tagline “12 Drivers. 1 Champion.,” the multi-platform initiative debuted on ESPN on Sept. 2 with a series of brand spots. The first one, “Generations,” is a 30-second ad that features five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and the likenesses of some of NASCAR’s greatest legends, including three-time champion Cale Yarborough, “The King” Richard Petty and seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. The campaign highlights the elevated stakes and significance of the Chase and the opportunity drivers have to build a legacy through the 10-race postseason.
“With this campaign, we want to create as much buzz and momentum going into the 10 races – if you’re a fan, you feel what it means to be a part of it,” said Emeka Ofodile, senior director of marketing at ESPN. “The Chase is big – it’s the playoffs – our goal is to make it feel that way.”
Discussions between NASCAR and ESPN about a joint marketing effort began in 2012. In early 2013, ESPN, in collaboration with creative agency Wieden + Kennedy New York, and NASCAR, along with their creative agency Ogilvy and Mather, joined forces to identify a single Chase message: “12 Drivers, 1 Champion.” This is the first time NASCAR is aligning with a rights holder network to develop a marketing campaign.
The joint campaign will introduce four TV spots, two produced by ESPN and two by NASCAR, as well as print, radio and local market executions at each of the ten Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup tracks. Additionally, the initiative will feature mobile and digital elements along with an extensive social media program called #Fandorsements.
“ESPN has played an integral role in our efforts to reach new fans,” said Kim Brink, vice president of marketing at NASCAR. “12 Drivers, 1 Champion.’ uses a pivotal time in the NASCAR season to articulate the intensity and complexity of the sport of stock car racing. We hope that the vivid imagery will convey to consumers the diligence and skill that it takes to rise to the top, demonstrating the unpredictable and dramatic nature of The Chase, the hardest championship in all of sports to win.”
#Fandorsements will be the social photo contest that allows fans to “endorse” their favorite Chase driver by submitting an original picture of their drivers’ number through Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #Fandorsements. Each week during the Chase, a new winner will be selected and will have his/her social media handle appear above their favorite Chase driver’s passenger window in that week’s race. For more information, visit www.nascar.com/fandorsements.
Nine of the 10 races in the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will air on ESPN and WatchESPN, with the Saturday night, Oct.12, race at Charlotte Motor Speedway airing on ABC. The full schedule is available on ESPN MediaZone.
The final 12 drivers in the playoff will be determined during the final regular season race of the season at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, Sept. 7, at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC, Performance Racing Network Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.