Pit Crews Are Themselves in Nascar Ads

DALLAS Makos Advertising, Marketing & Design introduces the new Nascar Performance Network with work that features actual Nascar crew personnel.

The network, an initiative of Nascar’s automotive aftermarket division, enables auto collision repair and maintenance shops to be associated with the sport.

The campaign’s 30-second TV spot opens with Greg Zipadelli of Joe Gibbs Racing talking to an unseen driver through his headset. When the driver says he needs help, Zipadelli looks on his laptop and instructs him to get off the freeway and pull into a mechanic on the right. We then see that Zipadelli has been helping a couple that are driving in their SUV and calling from their hands-free cell phone.

A voiceover then says, “Now crew chiefs and everyday drivers can get instant access to a nearby technician. Just click on Nascar.com, go to the auto section and enter your ZIP code for a shop near you.” The spot ends with a shot of the speedway and the tagline, “We know cars.”

The “Your own crew chief” campaign will also feature print, radio, Internet and collateral components that will extend through 2004. The effort broke this week.

The print ads feature Nascar personalities similiarly helping customers. Among those seen in the ads are crew chiefs Ryan Pemberton of MB2 Motorsports and Robert “Bootie” Barker, formerly of the Jasper Team, along with members of the Penske Racing Mobil 1 Team. Slugger Labbe, crew chief of Dale Earnhardt Inc., will voice the radio spot, the shop said.

The TV spot will air on NBC, Fox and other network programs. Print will appear in various Nascar publications like Nascar Winston Cup Scene, Nascar Illustrated and select souvenir race programs.

Billings are undisclosed. Makos won the assignment in June following a review.

Nascar’s corporate advertising is handled by WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam in Chicago. The Charlotte, N.C.-based client spent $10 million on advertising last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.