In Nascar's battle of the big boys, Ogilvy & Mather came out on top.
The other contenders for Nascar's advertising account were Leo Burnett, McCann Erickson and Young & Rubicam. Y&R, however, exited after a work session in mid-June, leaving Ogilvy, Burnett and McCann to present to a team of Nascar executives—including CEO Brian France—two weeks later.
As Nascar's new lead creative agency, Ogilvy succeeds longtime incumbent Jump Co. in St. Louis. The new shop's first work will break in the weeks leading up to the next Daytona 500 in February 2013.
Media spending on the brand exceeded $50 million last year—up from about $35 million in 2010, according to Nielsen. Those figures don't include online spending.
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—and those are the core challenges facing Ogilvy.
In making the hire, Nascar's Kim Brink cited Ogilvy's "consistency, creativity and dynamic leadership." Ogilvy North American chairman John Seifert, in turn, characterized Nascar as a "lighthouse brand," further describing the sport as a "place where big brands get a high return on investment."
Seifert also praised the review process.
"They stripped away all the bullshit that gets in the way of reviews. They took it very seriously," Seifert said, noting the accessibility and frankness of marketing leaders and the CEO's participation. "So, I think at the end of the day, they got a very open, no bullshit, no filtered feel for the competing teams."