Turner Sports on Apr. 1 will launch the original Web series Off Track with Tony Stewart, a behind the scenes look at the life of the popular Nascar star.
The series will be distributed on both Turner’s partner site Nascar.com as well as Yahoo Sports, with the eight scheduled episodes (each of running two-three minutes in length) premiering online roughly every other week. Off Track, which is being sponsored by Armor All, follows last year’s successful run of the similar Jim Bean-sponsored Web series True Character: Robby Gordon. That Turner-produced show will also return with a second 14-episode season planned for sometime this year.
Like True Character, Off Track will provide Nascar’s impassioned fan base with an documentary-styled’ view into the life of one of the sports’ more engaging personalities. Both Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart are “major characters and major personalities,” said Walker Jacobs, senior vp of Turner Sports and Entertainment digital ad sales. “[Off Track] shows Tony at home, in his garage, doing his radio show. It’s the day to day life of being Tony Stewart. What Nascar fans love the most is getting access to their idols when they’re off the track.”
And because those Nascar fans tend to have a different attitude when it comes to marketing, claimed Jacobs, neither True Character or Off Track can be more overt when it comes to sponsor messages compared to some branded entertainment shows. For example, episodes of Off Track will carry Armor All pre-roll video ads, voiceover “brought to you by” spots and companion display ads. Plus, the show will be promoted with co-branded banners, and the its video player will be wrapped by an Armor All-branded “skin.” Jim Beam will receive a similar multifaceted ad blitz during episodes of True Character.
“This is very much an example of what makes Nascar different,” said Jacobs. “Fans understand the reason the cars are on the track is the advertisers. So what we’re not trying to do is subtle product integration. We don’t let [advertisers] drive what the content is, but it’s very clear that without them you don’t get access.”