Men’s Cologne Restarts Its TV Engine

ATLANTA After a 10-year absence from television advertising, Drakkar Noir returned to cable last night on the Speed Channel.

In a 30-second spot dubbed “Feel the Power” from Publicis in New York, Nascar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his No. 8 car are used to tout the L’Oreal men’s cologne.

The commercial, filmed in grainy black and white at Hialeah Speedway in Miami, juxtaposes close-ups of Earnhardt with interiors of his car and product shots. A hard rock soundtrack adds a sense of urgency. The idea, said client assistant vice president of marketing Thayer Lavielle, was to capitalize on Earnhart’s appeal to both men and women as well as the growing popularity of Nascar.

Directed by Richard Phibbs of Mission in New York, the ad seeks to attract men, ages 24-49, who use the product as well as the women who buy it for them.

“It’s an interesting line to walk when you’re a prestige fragrance,” said Lavielle. “We want to be true to the Nascar fan and to the fantasy evident in most fragrance commercials.”

Lavielle said the TV effort brought Drakkar Noir’s print ad to life. That ad shows the driver in jeans and a leather jacket

“When we signed the partnership, we knew we didn’t want him portrayed in his uniform,” said Lavielle. “We want to speak to the guy off the track, who can get motors running by being who he is.”

The media plan calls for six ad flights through year’s end. The spot will also air in regional markets via tie-ins with local department store TV buys. Print is running in Sports Illustrated‘s Swimsuit Issue and Maxim. Additionally, the black-and-red Drakkar Noir logo has been added to Earnhardt’s uniforms and on the lower quarter panel of his No. 8 Chevrolet.