Smith To Ride With ‘hopey’ On U.S. Tour

A Nascar licensee trying to create awareness for a cartoon character has awarded its ad account to The Smith Agency in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., without a review.
Named for its Elvis-like canine character, Hopey the Hound Dog Inc. is spending about $1.5 million in 1998 to promote visits to state fairs nationwide, said Roy Anthony Sciacca, president of HHD and producer of the U.S. tour.
The account will encompass public relations and promotions, print and radio ads, and possibly TV. Rubenstein Associates in New York is also working on public relations.
Sciacca, who claims to have the “largest collection of Elvis Presley memorabilia in the world,” was exhibiting his wares around the country when he caught the attention of Nascar officials.
“[Nascar] asked me to produce a tour for them,” Sciacca said. Via the Nascar tour, Sciacca is marketing Hopey and his cartoon family, selling T-shirts, distributing a teen-oriented Nascar magazine for which Hopey is the mascot, and showing an animated video short. The tour kicks off this month.
Sciacca’s ultimate goal is to draw the interest of a company like Nickelodeon or Warner Bros. which could turn Hopey into a household name.
HHD learned of The Smith Agency through a connection at Nascar. The shop has introduced HHD to Hanes marketing executives in Winston-Salem, N.C., whom Sciacca is pitching on creating a line of Hopey underwear.