T.G. Madison Gets Tough for Cat on Nascar Circuit

“I told you they was a tough boot,” says Caterpillar work footwear spokesman Ward Burton.

The Nascar driver wears the construction shoe in print and broadcast ads created by T.G. Madison of Atlanta. Tagged “One tough boot,” a TV spot airs this week in Charlotte, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; Indianapolis; Peoria, Ill.; and Grand Rapids, Mich. Print, touting the Caterpillar and Nascar affiliation, breaks in September in Winston Cup Magazine and appears in Nascar race programs through fall.

“This is a blue-collar product with a target of men, 18-44,” said agency partner and chairman Joanne Truffelman. “The Nascar fans are a perfect audience and Ward drives the Cat car.”

After a review of several agencies in late 2000, Caterpillar, a division of Wolverine World Wide in Rockford, Mich., handed assignment work to T.G. Madison with a charge to raise awareness of the Cat work boot. The brand is popular in European markets, but has not been advertised in this country.

“Instead of doing in-store promotions, we decided to create one big idea with the dollars and use television,” said Truffelman, adding that the media buy, NBC affiliates on the Nascar tour, will provide a national presence. “Even though we’re running on local markets,” she said, “we’re going to get spillage from people watching the races.”

Truffelman said the idea only sounds expensive.

“The buy is so highly focused versus doing promotions with local co-ops, it’s not a risk,” she said.

CMR lists annual ad spending at $1.5 million. Sources indicated the campaign buy is higher. Neither client nor agency would comment.

The spot, directed by Jeff Smith of Oasis Films in Charlotte, plays Burton’s folksy Southern accent (and grammar) against the product’s steely durability.

Displaying his Cats to a mechanic at work beneath the driver’s race car, Burton proves how strong the boots are when a tricky repair is accomplished with the shoe’s steel toe. The spot ends with Burton clomping away. “I told you they was a tough boot,” he mutters.