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Nascar Briefs Finalists in Advertising Review

Big shops vie for the high-profile account

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Nascar executives visited several agencies—some with as few as 10 employees—in its search for finalists to pitch its advertising business. In the end, however, the racing giant opted for the deep resources of global agency networks.

The four finalists—Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam, Leo Burnett and McCann Erickson—will be briefed this afternoon at Nascar’s offices in Charlotte, N.C.

Media spending on the brand exceeded $50 million last year, up from about $35 million in 2010, according to Nielsen.

Each contender will meet again with Nascar executives next month for a series of work sessions a few weeks before final presentations, which are slated for June 26 and 27 at another Nascar office in Daytona, Fla., according to Kim Brink, director of brand, consumer and series marketing.

The final four emerged from a field of eight shops that Nascar visited in April. Brink declined to identify the other agencies. The winner of the review will succeed longtime lead agency Jump Co. in St. Louis.

Nascar racing is the largest spectator sport in the U.S., with some of its tracks seating up to 170,000 fans. Its core fans are also incredibly loyal. That said, Nascar needs to attract its next generation of fans and expand its multicultural audience, according to Brink.

In selecting the finalists, Brink and her colleagues considered the agencies’ experience with youth and sports brands, their Hispanic marketing credentials and their ability to grow brands long term. They also sought an agency that would connect with Nascar’s culture.

Interest in the account has been significant. A whopping 75 agencies submitted credentials to Nascar after it launched its search in March, Brink said. Part of the appeal was indirect. Nascar’s sponsors represent a Who’s Who among Fortune 500 companies, including Coca-Cola, General Motors (Chevrolet), Toyota and Goodyear.