Nascar Bypasses Southern Shops

Taps Y&R of Chicago Over Martin, Richards
CHICAGO–Nascar’s roots are in the South, but the sport’s national popularity may be reflected in its choice of Young & Rubicam as its new ad agency.
Y&R in Chicago bested two Southern shops to win the account–The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., and The Richards Group in Dallas–as well as D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in St. Louis.
The incumbent was Primedia Communications in Atlanta.
Spending was pegged by sources at $25-35 million, which includes deals the circuit has with its sponsors and the television networks.
Y&R pitched with its direct and promotions arm, Impiric, which does work for the Nascar Craftsman truck racing series. Craftsman is part of Sears, a Y&R client.
Y&R is trying to polish its creative image. Toward that end, Y&R creative director Jon Wyville crafted a series of short videos that were sent to Nascar executives in the days leading up to the shop’s pitch.
Intended to show the agency’s commitment to stock car racing, one video shows a Y&R employee operating the flush lever on a urinal as if it is a stick shift while making motor noises; another depicts a Y&R staffer getting out of a taxi through the window, as Nascar drivers do; a third has a man in a driver’s helmet and jumpsuit elbowing his way out of a crowded agency elevator.
A stronger commercial presence on network TV can be expected, said Y&R creative chief Mark Figliulo.
In the past several years, Nascar has expanded its fan base northward and claims to be the nation’s fastest-growing spectator sport. K