Kids Dream of Being Racecar Drivers as Ogilvy Fine-Tunes Its Repositioning of Nascar

Boys and girls, start your engines

IDEA: Astronaut? Firefighter? Movie star? All fine professions. But it's the dream of being a racecar driver that gets kids' pulses racing in many homes across America.

A new 60-second Nascar ad from Ogilvy shows the sport's youngest fans talking about what they want to be when they grow up—and they end up describing their Nascar heroes pretty well. It's a fun and different way to leverage one of the sport's great assets—the star power of its drivers—while touching on the truth of how people become fans in the first place.

"Kids in particular tend to follow a certain driver," said Nascar vp of marketing Kim Brink. "A lot of times they meet the driver at a track and become lifelong fans. We wanted to do a spot that leaned into that a little bit, and talked about these heroes through the words of children."

Don't expect it to be too cute, though. These kids, like their idols, have an edge. "We didn't want 'Heroes' to be just another ad with children," said Brink. "It needed to be a Nascar ad."

COPYWRITING: The spot features boys and girls speaking to the camera about their dreams:

Every night when I fall asleep

I dream of flying

I dream of riding a rocket

I dream of being an athlete

I dream of being a king

Of being dangerous

Mysterious

I dream of being fearless

I dream of being bad

Really bad

I dream of being a knight in shining armor

I dream of defying gravity

Being brave

Being famous

A good guy

A hero

I dream of being a tough guy

I dream of mayhem

Chaos

Lights

Thunder

Danger

I dream of kicking butt

Kicking butt

Kicking butt and taking names

I dream of being a 10

I dream of donuts

That's my dream

That's my dream

That's my dream

Mine too

I dream of being a racecar driver.

At the 23-second mark, the spot begins to intersperse footage (some new, some archival) of Nascar drivers in and outside their vehicles. Some copy is a bit provocative (though the girl who dreams of "being a 10" is referring to Danica Patrick's car), but that fits with the brand.

"A Nascar ad with kids has to be bold," said group creative director Terry Finley. "We didn't do anything purposely funny or overly cutesy. It's very heartfelt, real, serious and cool. These drivers are the baddest-ass good guys you'll ever meet."

The spot closes with the logo and URL. There is no tagline.

ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Director Gerard de Thame filmed the kids over two days in various environments—urban, rural, home, school, car. The archival clips bring race-day energy, while the new footage allows for cleaner art direction.

TALENT: There are a few 6-year-olds, but most of the kids are between 8 and 10. "They had to be old enough to actually have a dream, and articulate that," said Finley.

The kids are racially diverse and include boys and girls (Nascar says its fan base is 50/50 male/female). "We put diversity first in everything we do," said Ogilvy account director Dan Langlitz. "This dream is attainable for anybody. So that was a thoughtful part of the casting process."

SOUND: A guitar track, scored to picture by Beacon Street Studios, builds to a crescendo, then fades. "It needed to have an emotional peak," said Finley. "That ring-out at the end, when the kid is closing his eyes, was worked on quite extensively."

As far as racing sounds go, Ogilvy has actually found that less is more. (Last year's "Twist" spot had just classical music and a voiceover.) "When you see the powerful footage, your own imagination of what the sound would be adds to the story," said Ogilvy New York chief creative officer Calle Sjoenell.

MEDIA: "Heroes" is one of three new spots running nationally on Nascar's broadcast partners including ABC, ESPN, Fox and TNT.

THE SPOT:

THE OTHER NEW SPOTS:

CREDITS