Dale Earnhardt Jr. Tugs Nascar Fans’ Heartstrings in Goodyear Spot

Inspiring ad will debut during Daytona 500

Goodyear is targeting Nascar's massive fan base in new ads featuring one of the sport's most recognizable faces, Dale Earnhardt Jr. The spot "Driven Like Jr.," by GSD&M, will debut during this Sunday's Daytona 500.

The ad shows the likeness of a young Earnhardt growing up watching his late father and Nascar legend, Dale Earnhardt, race on TV. Then we see junior race go-karts and eventually clinch his own Nascar victories, all interspersed with flashes of Goodyear tires. Earnhardt's voiceover says, "I was made in the shadows of greatness, shaped by the hands of legacy and forged in the fires of racing. … Whether it's on the track or off, the truth is, what you're made of is what you're made to do."

The spot is meant to convey the process it takes to create a racing legend, whether it's a man or a tire. "There are so many similarities between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Goodyear. It's two American icons cut from the same cloth: rubber," said Bill Bayne, group creative director at GSD&M.

The spot was shot at Concord Speedway in North Carolina, where Earnhardt won some of his first races. "We thought race fans will get excited about that kind of attention to detail, and it adds to the narrative. The team pored into his biography. Dale Jr. developed a passion for racing from watching his father on TV, then raced go-karts while he was coming up through the ranks and sold them for a '78 Monte Carlo, so we have a '78 Monte Carlo in the ad. Because this is aimed at the Nascar fan base, which is so passionate, we knew if we tried to fake something, we'd be found out," Bayne said.

Goodyear has been the official tire of Nascar for 60 years, so although Earnhardt and all Nascar drivers have had a longstanding relationship with the brand, this is the first Goodyear ad he is appearing in. "Dale has a deep, personal connection with the Goodyear brand and we wanted the creative to deliver that message in a heartfelt way," said Seth Klugherz, director of marketing at Goodyear.

And as the most popular driver in Nascar for the past 13 years, Earnhardt is the ideal spokesman for Goodyear, Bayne said. "Nascar tracks are the proving ground for Goodyear tires," he said, "and Dale's had such an amazing Nascar career, so it made a lot of sense."

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Agency: GSD&M

Launch Date: 2/21

Spot Title: "Made"

Chief Creative Officer: Jay Russell

Group Creative Directors: Bill Bayne, Bill Marceau

Art Director: Dale Austin

Writer: Brandon Curl

Executive Producer: Marianne Newton

Director of Integrated Production: Jack Epsteen

SVP/Managing Director: Maureen Barry

Prod Company: Superprime Films

Director: Malloy Brothers, Emmett and Brandon

Editor: Paul Kumpata/EXILE

Account Service: Jeff Orth, Dan Martin, Gigi Baffi

Project Management: Sara Rosales, Patrick Soto

Marketplace Planning: Michael Dezso


Agency: Superprime Films

Director: Malloy Brothers

Producer: Roger Zorovich

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