Ad of the Day: Nascar

Ogilvy tries to capture the drama of the sport, on and off the track

Nascar isn't just a bunch of dudes driving heavily branded stock cars around in circles.

It's also a bunch of dudes spinning out, flipping and smashing those heavily branded stock cars in spectacular crashes. It's also dudes threatening to punch each other in the face, and dudes getting really bummed out about losing and really excited about winning. Occasionally, it's not even dudes doing all this stuff (though mostly it is).

This is "Twist," the first of five new English-language spots (plus four additional versions in Spanish) for the popular racing association. The first work for the brand from Ogilvy, it's also part of what Nascar is calling its first ever fully integrated campaign, which debuts on TV this Sunday during the sport's biggest North American race, the Daytona 500.

Overall, the spot seems to answer the brief, "Make people think this sport isn't boring." The defensive posture isn't surprising, given the sport's declining popularity in recent years. It does an pretty good job of condensing myriad little dramas into a 60-second spot—and playing up the rubbernecking aspect of the sport, which may help give Nascar an edgier sheen for the youth demographic it's trying to reach.

Whether it's enough to stop Nascar from hemorrhaging viewers at live events and on TV is another question. The ad doesn't show much that isn't already familiar. The most insightful bit might be that the events aren't as fleeting as they seem—that drivers spend years working to get where they are, a fact generally eclipsed by the quick thrills of the sport. The nods to gender equality and patriotism feel almost obligatory. In short, it's all very ambitious, and tightly contrived, but doesn't quite turn the corner into something moving.

Plus, closing the loop at the end by inverting the ad's opening line—"For every turn, a twist" becomes "For every twist, there's a turn"—might not do the message any favors. As it turns out, Nascar is just a bunch of dudes driving heavily branded stock cars in circles.

Client: Nascar
Agency: Ogilvy, New York

Calle Sjoenell- Chief Creative Officer
Terry Finley- Group Creative Director
Rich Wallace- Creative Director
Jack Low- Creative Director
Joey Monteverde- Copywriter
Doug Hanshaw- Art Director
Alvaro Cabrera- Executive Director, Creative Strategy

Lee Weiss- Executive Producer, WW
Susan Rafter- Senior Producer
Dave Lambert- Assistant Producer

Production Company: Anonymous Content
Director: Mark Romanek
Executive Producer: Eric Stern 
Managing Director: Sue Ellen Clair  
Producer: Scott Kaplan

Editorial Company: Arcade Edit
Editor: Nick Rondeau
Managing Partner/EP: Damian Stevens
Executive Producer: Nicole Visram
Post Producer: Jonlyn Williams
Assistant: Pete D'Andrea