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Dollars & Sense: NASCAR Dumps Jump Co. as Ad Agency

For the fourth time since 2000, NASCAR is going to be dumping an advertising agency. This time NASCAR is seeking a pitch company to bring in a newer, younger, multicultural fanbase.

“As we started taking a look at our future vision, we took a look at our evolving needs and realized we need agency resources to meet those needs,” Kim Brink, NASCAR’s managing director brand, consumer and series marketing said in an interview with Ad Age. “We want to make sure we have a class-leading full-service agency.”

Jump Co. has been with NASCAR since 2005. Prior to them, it was the much larger Martin Agency during the boom years of the network television expansion, 2003-2005. Current NASCAR advertising finalist Young & Rubicam had the contract from 2000-2003.

On Monday in their Charlotte offices, NASCAR briefed Y&R and three other finalists that they are being considered for next season’s advertising. The other three agencies are Leo Burnett, McCann Erickson and Ogilvy & Mather.

In March, Brink had stated that Jump Co. was competing against “three or four other shops”. We now know from an Adweek article that the list is down to the previously mentioned four shops and Jump Co. is out.

The criticisms levied against Jump Co. were that they were a small boutique company with little manpower, bandwidth or experience. Their ads continually compared NASCAR with other sports, as if to say that head to head, NASCAR is bigger, badder and tougher. This resonates with people that are already following the sport, but doesn’t do much to bring in and retain new viewers – something NASCAR has struggled to do the past five years.

NASCAR’s decline in television ratings and attendance at the track, has coincided with the reign of Jump Co. as their ad agency. For this reason alone, it is logical that NASCAR is looking elsewhere for a change of pace. However, NASCAR isn’t likely to get anything new or fresh out of most of these new finalists. We have no reason to believe that these agencies bring with them a cornucopia of young or a multicultural fan base.

As I mentioned before, New York based Y&R has already been NASCAR’s ad agency. For this reason, it could be certain that they are going to be out of the picture when all is said and done. Another New York-based agency, McCann Erickson, has been representing Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company for many years and aligning with them can’t possibly be good for bringing new fans to the sport.

Leo Burnett has recently started working on the Sprint account. Like McCann Erickson, switching to this agency can’t be considered anything fresh or potentially leading the sport into a different direction. It would just be taking NASCAR where Sprint is already going – which somewhat appropriately, would be in circles.

By looking at the map on the Ogilvy & Mather website, they have a large foothold in the Latin America market. Brink has stated that the multicultural search is predominantly a Hispanic focus. That coupled with the fact that they aren’t already tied to anything NASCAR related, I see them as the logical choice to advertise for NASCAR.

All four agencies will meet again with NASCAR in Charlotte for a series of work sessions in early June. Final presentations are slated for June 26 and 27 in NASCAR’s Daytona offices.

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The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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