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NASCAR Ads Focus on Fans

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Don't expect to see much race footage in Young & Rubicam's first campaign for NASCAR. A national promotional campaign for the stock car association targets families and features a middle-aged, race-obsessed father who incorporates his fixation into everyday life.

Fifteen-, 30- and 60-second spots that break Feb. 18 demonstrate the man and his family's love of racing in simple vignettes tagged, "How bad have you got it?" Heralding the start of the NASCAR season with the Daytona 500, the work will air on FOX, NBC, Turner and FX. Spending for the year is estimated at $25-35 million.

In one spot the father times himself as he quickly changes the tire on a tire swing his daughter was playing on, mimicking a pit crew.

"We wanted real people as opposed to slick Hollywood," said Jon Wyville, creative director and art director on the NASCAR account. "And since (spots from NASCAR) sponsors have so much race footage, we wanted something that stuck out and spoke to the fans."

In fact, the only race footage is flashed quickly on the screen at the end of each spot with the NASCAR logo.

Print ads break around the same time as TV with a similar theme. The six executions appear in NASCAR race programs, USA Today and a variety of NASCAR publications. One ad is a shot of crayon drawings of race tracks posted on a refrigerator.

The campaign targets the changing demographics of NASCAR enthusiasts. Increasingly, middle- and upper-income families attend the events, Wyville said.

The campaign is an outgrowth of a video Y&R sent to NASCAR executives in a review for the account last year. It showed Y&R employees demonstrating their love of racing, such as a segment with a man operating the flush lever on a urinal as if it were a stick shift and making revving sounds.

The work marks the first time NASCAR has used a larger agency for its promotional advertising, said Steve Boguski, NASCAR's vice president of strategic marketing.