Nascar ‘King’ Takes the Ice

Rockett Stars Petty in TV Campaign for Hurricanes
ATLANTA–Rockett Burkhead & Winslow of Raleigh has turned to North Carolina’s favorite son, Richard Petty, for a series of television spots designed to jump-start ticket sales for the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes.
In the first commercial, which debuted locally during the Super Bowl, Petty takes a spin in a Zamboni ice-surfacing machine. He drives it with his customary yen for speed, fishtailing all over the ice and sending the real operator scrambling.
In the second spot, which breaks today, Petty kidnaps the team’s star center, Keith Primeau, as the Hurricanes are preparing for their move. After the Nascar driver puts the skater on the back of the Zamboni, they race off the rink and onto the highway as the player cries out helplessly, “There’s probably still some room on the bus . . . !” The ad ends with Petty speeding past a sign directing drivers toward Raleigh, as the team’s mascot, Stormy the Ice Hog, scrambles unsuccessfully to keep up.
Brian Hoyle, RB&W’s promotional specialist, said marrying Petty to ice hockey was a way to immediately connect with every in-state person who saw the ads.
“In Carolina, there’s Nascar, golf and college basketball. Not necessarily in that order, but definitely with Nascar first,” said Hoyle. “[Petty’s] the ‘King.’ He’s immediately identifiable. He’s a native and probably the most famous person in the state.”
Agency account supervisor Ken Baroff thinks Petty could be a crucial catalyst in attracting potential fans who might not otherwise want to give hockey a try.
“The key is just to get people out there once to see a game live,” said Baroff. “That’s the whole secret. It’s much more fun to be there than to see it on television, and once you get out to a game, you’re hooked.”
The tagline for all print advertising is: “You’ll know when you go.”
The team moves next year from its temporary home in Greensboro, N.C., to the new Raleigh Entertainment & Sports Arena.