National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing
National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing
Sales: $2 billion (1999 est.)
NAIC: 71132 Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events Without Facilities
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, known as NASCAR, is the official sanctioning body for the sport of stock car racing. Stock car racing is a competition between cars that use standard auto bodies instead of specially designed exteriors. Stock car racing had a tremendous rise in popularity in the 1990s, and it is now the second most popular televised spectator sport in the United States, second only to major league football. Branching out from its base in the South, NASCAR runs races at tracks across the nation. Its Winston Cup series draws over six million fans annually, and 17 of the top 20 best-attended sporting events in 1998 were NASCAR races. The company brings in revenues through racing fees, licensing of its name, corporate sponsorships, and television rights. The company is privately held by descendants of its founder, Bill France.
Stock car racing as a sport developed out of the need for fast and efficient delivery of illegal alcohol. The earliest racers were actually drivers for bootleg whiskey made in the Appalachian mountains of the American South. Homemade whiskey was a profitable sideline for poor farmers in Appalachia, who were able to sell their goods in urban centers when Prohibition made alcohol production illegal in the United States. Prohibition lasted from 1919 to 1933. Yet even after 1933, so-called moonshine remained in high demand, as it was inexpensive. Homemade alcohol was called moonshine because it was made at night, in order to avoid detection by federal revenue agents. The government levied high taxes on legal alcohol production, and the moonshiners sought to avoid paying. By the 1930s, a running battle between federal agents and moonshiners was underway, carried on up and down steep mountain roads between midnight and dawn. The distillers worked hard on their cars to give them speed and power, and built in features that helped them handle the cruel curves of the Appalachian roads. The cars themselves became the subject of folk legends, bearing names like the Black Ghost, the Grey Ghost, and the Midnight Traveler. The moonshine drivers were exceptionally skilled, and eventually they wanted to compete with each other in the daylight. The first such race was held in 1937 in Stockbridge, Georgia, and soon the sport was drawing thousands of spectators. Races were held on dirt tracks, which were usually officially horse racing ovals, although sometimes races were held in a plowed field. The most famous racers of the 1930s were all bootleg whiskey drivers, including Fonty Flock, Buddy Shu-man, and Junior Johnson. The sport was rough, dirty, and apparently exhilarating. But it was not organized in any way until the intervention of Big Bill France.
Big Bill was born William Henry Getty France, the son of a banker from Washington, D.C. In the 1920s, Big Bill dropped out of high school in order to build and race cars in suburban Maryland; he also became a skilled mechanic. By 1934 France had a wife and a young son, and he decided to move the family to Florida for the warm weather. Originally headed for Miami, the family stopped off in Daytona Beach, and settled there instead. Daytona Beach was a haven for racers, who used its hard-packed beach as a speedway. Drivers from all over the world descended on Daytona to race. In 1935 Sir Malcolm Campbell, the most famous English racer, attempted to set a land speed record of 300 miles per hour at Daytona Beach. His attempt was foiled by strong ocean winds, and the next year, he and the world’s other leading drivers moved from Daytona’s speedway to the open desert of the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Speedweek, as the Daytona event was called, was a huge financial boon for Daytona Beach, bringing in thousands of tourists. The city organized races in 1936 and 1937, but without the big stars, both of these lost money, and the sport seemed doomed. Bill France at that time was not only a stock car driver but also owned a gas station and mechanic’s shop favored by other racers. The Daytona Beach Chamber of Commerce approached France about organizing a 1938 race, and France gladly stepped in. He booked a date, signed up drivers, and solicited local businesses for prizes, which included such items as a case of beer and a box of cigars. Tickets went for 50 cents each, and the race drew 4,500 spectators. The first race was a success, and France began planning for the next one. By 1939, he had organized a set of basic rules and found more local sponsors. With ticket sales raised to $1, he was able to pay his costs as well as rake in several thousand dollars profit.
Big Bill’s adventure in race promoting came to a halt when the United States entered World War II and he was commissioned to work in a shipyard. After the war, France returned to Daytona and tried to pick up where he had left off. He lacked the financial backing to put a race together in Daytona, but he decided to sponsor a 100-mile national championship stock car race at a track in Charlotte, North Carolina. However, journalists France approached were uninterested in writing about a supposed “national championship” when there were no national rules governing the sport. Other problems plagued stock car racing as well. Each track made its own rules, so drivers frequently had to re-fit their cars to meet differing standards, and owners were often unscrupulous, absconding with prize money before the race was over. France added legitimacy to his sport by forming his own national sanctioning body, named the National Championship Stock Car Circuit (NCSCC), and set up a point system for drivers and a prize money fund. He ran the 1947 season under the NCSCC auspices. The next year, France wanted to expand the NCSCC’s powers, giving it governing authority over all the major Southern tracks. He gathered 35 major racing figures in a Daytona hotel room to hammer out the specifics of the organization in December 1947. The following year the group incorporated as the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, with four stockholders, including Big Bill, who was elected president.
NASCAR in the 1950s and 1960s
Stock car racing grew into a tremendously popular sport in the South in the 1950s and 1960s. France was a visionary promoter, and he was aided by track owners who wanted NASCAR’s sanctioning to make their races official. A new raceway was built in Darlington, North Carolina, by a local entrepreneur, and NASCAR sanctioned the track’s first Southern 500 race in 1950. The track was built to hold 9,000 spectators, but its first event drew a crowd of 25,000. Five years later, the Southern 500 had become the biggest sporting event in the entire South, drawing a crowd of at least 50,000. Attracted by Darlington’s success, other track owners upgraded their raceways or built new ones. The sport remained rough and dangerous. To control unruly crowds in the infield, local sheriffs would set up a temporary jail inside the oval. This was easier than dragging offenders across the track. France wanted to move the sport away from small dirt tracks and run races at more modern, paved raceways like Darlington. The speedway at Daytona Beach had been deteriorating for years, and after several seasons of running a “last” race at the beach, France convinced the city to let him build a paved, 2.5 mile speedway, breaking ground in 1957. Big Bill went deeply into debt, but his gamble paid off when the track opened in 1959 to a crowd of 42,000, rivaling Darlington’s draw.
In the 1960s, many new speedways were built. There were perhaps a hundred different dirt tracks across the South by the early 1960s, and NASCAR sanctioned more than 50 races during the season. In 1960 builders in Atlanta opened the Atlanta International Raceway, and Charlotte, North Carolina, saw the inauguration of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. A year later Bristol Speedway debuted in Bristol, Tennessee, and in 1965 promoters built the North Carolina Motor Speedway in the Sandhills area of that state. France busily promoted races and certified cars and drivers. In 1969 major tracks opened in Michigan and Delaware, expanding the geographical reach of the sport. As stock car racing became bigger business, NASCAR reached out to corporate sponsors to provide purse money in exchange for advertising. In the early 1950s France had signed up the big Detroit automakers as sponsors, and other loyal backers of the sport included tire companies and other automotive-related businesses. NASCAR’s business was quite lucrative, as it received sponsorship money from corporations, while track owners were responsible for the expenses of running the track. NASCAR organized and promoted the races and handled logistics. Its responsibilities included qualifying drivers, keeping records of the point system, and declaring winners.
Second Generation Takes over in the 1970s
As stock car racing grew, Big Bill France found himself hard put to keep up. Besides his track at Daytona, France had invested in another at Talladega, Alabama, which meant that he had less time to run NASCAR. He ceded the business to his son Bill, Jr., in 1972. Big Bill was 62; his son, 28. Bill Jr. made immediate changes. Most importantly, he found a new corporate sponsor for the races in the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company, which had been banned from advertising on television. In 1971 R.J. Reynolds agreed to sponsor a 500-mile race at Talladega called the Winston 500, after its leading cigarette brand. In 1972 Reynolds asked for a bigger role in NASCAR. It wanted the company to reduce the total number of races in the season from around 50 to just 31 so that the season would be shorter and more fans would concentrate at each race. In exchange, Reynolds offered major prize money, including a $100,000 bonus to be split among the season’s top racers. It also took over the job of promoting the Winston Cup series races.
- “Big Bill” France organizes National Championship Stock Car Circuit.
- Company incorporates as NASCAR.
- Bill France builds new Daytona track.
- Big Bill retires; leadership passes to Bill France, Jr.
- First national broadcast of live NASCAR event takes place.
- Brian France takes over NASCAR marketing.
NASCAR continued to expand. It penetrated into the Northeast with tracks in Pennsylvania and New York. The sport grew in popularity, fueled in part by the explosive personalities of the star drivers. Leading racers such as Carl Yarborough, Richard Petty, and Bobby Allison grew in fame beyond the confines of the South as racing fans were drawn from a larger cross-section of the United States. With the rise of new, paved tracks in the 1960s, the infield brawling of the sport’s early years mostly passed. Women fans became increasingly prominent, and the Winston Cup saw its first female driver in 1976 in the person of Janet Guthrie, a former University of Michigan physics major. In 1979 NASCAR reached a major milestone when it convinced the CBS television network to broadcast a championship race. The Daytona 500, the first televised NASCAR race, drew approximately 16 million viewers, or twice the audience the network had expected. NASCAR took ten percent of television revenues, so this was an extremely important revenue stream. The cable sports network ESPN began broadcasting Winston Cup races in 1981, and by the 1990s all three major networks ran NASCAR races.
Marketing in the 1990s
Though explosive growth seemed to have characterized the sport all through its existence, in the 1990s stock car racing was a juggernaut, becoming not only the fastest-growing sport in the country but finding itself second only to major league football as a spectator sport. Attendance at the championship series Winston Cup races grew more than 65 percent between 1990 and 1996, with average attendance in the late 1990s ranging from 100,000 to 150,000. In the early 1990s, NASCAR was still run very much as it had been when the company started. The bulk of its revenues came from sanctioning fees, which each track paid in order to have an official NASCAR race. The number of races had grown tremendously, with nearly 150 U.S. racetracks holding NASCAR events and additional tracks in Japan, for a total of more than 2,000 events. NASCAR’s marketing staff in 1991 comprised only three people, as most of its promotion was handled by R.J. Reynolds.
When the third generation of the France family entered the business in the early 1990s, the company began to find more ways of bringing in money. Brian France, Bill, Jr.’s son, became head of marketing in 1991. In 1990, fans spent approximately $80 million on licensed NASCAR merchandise, and NASCAR itself made roughly $1 million off licensing fees. Brian France worked to increase NASCAR’s licensing revenues by putting the NASCAR name on more items. Not only T-shirts, but also car batteries and Barbie dolls soon could be found emblazoned with the NASCAR name and logo. The company opened a licensing division in Huntersville, North Carolina, in 1995. The original staff of six had grown to more than 20 a few years later. In 1996 NASCAR sold rights to Gaylord Entertainment, a Tennessee entertainment and media firm, to operate and manage a chain of stores selling NASCAR goods. The chain, NASCAR Thunder, opened in Atlanta and in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and soon expanded to other locations. By the end of the 1990s, NASCAR’s revenue from licensing fees had grown to approximately $35 million annually. Sales of licensed goods had grown to $1.1 billion. Brian France also endeavored to bring more corporate sponsorship money directly to NASCAR. Previously, most sponsorship money went to racers, whose cars then advertised the company backing them. Brian France convinced major corporations such as Coca-Cola, Visa, and Anheuser-Busch to become sponsors, with approximately $45 million in 1999 going directly to NASCAR. Big Bill’s grandson also worked to negotiate better television rights for NASCAR. At the time, NASCAR races were shown on all three major networks as well as cable stations, and each track worked out its own deal with whichever station it wanted. This meant that races were shown on many different channels, and NASCAR had little bargaining leverage. France wanted to consolidate television rights so that races would be broadcast by fewer stations. This move was expected to increase the amount NASCAR brought in from broadcast rights, from $10 million to possibly four times that much.
As NASCAR prepared to enter the 21st century, its phenomenal growth did not seem to be slowing. It was reaching more fans than ever through television and at more and more live events as tracks continued to be built across the country. It had changed from a lowly, dirt-track sport to a polished form of mass entertainment that appealed to entire families. Seventy Fortune 500 companies were NASCAR sponsors to some degree. The sale of licensed goods continued to rise, bringing in revenue not only to NASCAR but also to other companies such as Action Performance, Inc., which made NASCAR collectibles. Stock car drivers continued to be as charismatic as the colorful figures of the 1940s and 1950s, and leading racers from the 1990s such as Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and Rusty Wallace were heroes to young fans. Profit margins for NASCAR were estimated to be as high as 35 to 40 percent in the late 1990s, and it seemed evident the company would continue to prosper as stock car racing captivated an ever wider audience.
Bernstein, Andy, “In the Driver’s Seat,” Sporting Goods Business, May 12, 1997, p. 60.
Fleischman, Bill, and Al Pearce, The Unauthorized NASCAR Fan Guide ‘99, Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999.
Friedman, Wayne, “NASCAR Opens Drive for More Profitable Sponsorship Deals,” Advertising Age, March 22, 1999, p. 22.
Hagstrom, Robert G., The NASCAR Way, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998.
“NASCAR Thunder Revs Up,” Chain Store Age Executive, October 1996, p. 78.
“Numbers Reflect NASCAR’s Growth,” Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News, April 6, 1998.
Spiegel, Peter, “Southern-Fried Dynasty,” Forbes, October 11, 1999.
National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing
National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing
1801 W. International Speedway Boulevard
Daytona Beach, Florida 32114
Telephone: (386) 253-0611
Fax: (386) 252-8804
Web site: www.nascar.com
HOW BAD HAVE YOU GOT IT? CAMPAIGN
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) saw its popularity dramatically increase between the 1970s and the 1990s. Long considered a sport followed chiefly by blue-collar males in the southern United States, NASCAR's audience had in reality evolved considerably since its early days. With a growing base of middle-and upper-income fans of all ages and both genders scattered across all parts of the country, NASCAR set out in 2001 to expand its audience even further. Explicitly targeting families and departing from previous campaigns in which intense racing footage was used to appeal to hardcore fans, NASCAR's ad agency, Young & Rubicam of Chicago, crafted a campaign meant to inspire new fans to greater devotional heights without alienating the faithful.
"How Bad Have You Got It?" was budgeted at an estimated $25 to $30 million a year, and it was launched in February 2001 to coincide with that year's 10-month racing season. The TV spots depicted a seemingly ordinary family—the same one in all eight executions—whose ordinary activities were dramatically colored by an obvious obsession with NASCAR. For instance, one commercial showed the family station wagon parking in front of a diner, whereupon all four members exited the car via the windows, after the fashion of NASCAR drivers. Another spot showed the husband and wife unable to sleep, presumably because of the revving engine noise outside. The husband rose and opened the window, and, soothed by the louder engine sound, the couple quickly fell into a peaceful slumber. The campaign's run was extended through the 2002 racing season, with new content and slight alterations in strategy.
The campaign received favorable critical attention on its way to winning a Bronze Lion at the Cannes International Advertising Festival and a Gold EFFIE from the New York American Marketing Association. NASCAR's television audience and fan base both continued to grow rapidly in subsequent years.
NASCAR was formed in 1948 by William France, Sr., and Ed Otto as a means of formalizing rules and procedures for the racing of "stock" cars, or cars that had not been modified outside of the factories that produced them. The first NASCAR race was held at the Charlotte Speedway in North Carolina on June 19, 1949. By the mid-1960s the cars were no longer true stock cars; they had bodies similar to ordinary factory-produced cars but were actually built specifically for racing. NASCAR expanded throughout the next several decades, but its fan base remained localized in the southeastern region of the country, where, prior to 1970, all tracks but one (Riverside Raceway in Riverside, California) were located.
The year 1972 marked the beginning of the modern era of NASCAR, characterized by a new competitive structure that included a point system and a series of races called the Winston Cup, sponsored by the R.J. Reynolds cigarette brand of the same name. In the mid-1970s portions of NASCAR races began to appear on television, and the first full telecast of a race from beginning to end was the 1979 Daytona 500. This race proved effective in introducing mainstream America to the drama of stock car racing: the lead cars, driven by Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison, crashed during the final lap, and Richard Petty won. The excitement continued after the race, when Yarborough, Allison, and Allison's brother immediately engaged in a fistfight on national television.
By the early 2000s NASCAR had grown well beyond its home base in the Southeast. Its regular-season television ratings were second only to the National Football League among pro sports, with weekly telecasts attracting more than 20 million viewers. A 2001 brand study conducted by market-research firm Ipsos-Reid put the number of devoted NASCAR fans at 40 million. Corporate branding played an integral role in NASCAR races—cars as well as drivers were closely identified with, and decorated with the logos of, their sponsoring brands. Because of this and the related perception that NASCAR fans were the most brand-loyal of any sports fans, the sport was an increasingly attractive venue for Fortune 500 sponsorship. A 2001 deal with television networks NBC, TNT, FOX, and FX regularized the broadcasting of NASCAR races and allowed for further expansion of the sport's audience.
NASCAR did not do any national advertising until 1998, when it introduced the "This Is NASCAR" tagline. Primedia of Atlanta served as NASCAR's marketing agency during the late 1990s, handling licensing, media buying, and other strategic matters while subcontracting the creative work for national advertising. TV spots typically focused on dramatic race footage and the personalities of drivers, in a style described by freelance creative director Cleve Wilcoxon in Adweek as "a fastball down the middle." The campaign's yearly budget was estimated at $7.5 million in 2000.
"How Bad Have You Got It?" coincided with a change in demographics among NASCAR's fan base. NASCAR's appeal had transcended its regional beginnings, though the largest and arguably most dedicated group of fans was still to be found in the South; and stereotypical notions holding that the sport was the province strictly of blue-collar men were likewise outdated. NASCAR increasingly drew fans from middle- and upper-income brackets, and in preparing for the campaign, Young & Rubicam uncovered an important but largely unrecognized aspect of stock-car racing: its appeal to families. "Families travel together for weekends to see the sport," Young & Rubicam creative director/art director Jon Wyville told Shoot. "It's not just dad going to the races … whole families are into it."
While the agency had no choice but to take the changing nature of NASCAR fandom into account, its creative team recognized the necessity of appealing to the sport's longtime core fans as well. These fans tended to be extremely knowledgeable about the intricacies of the season-long points system and rules governing individual races, and they could be more clearly associated with NASCAR's regional past. Many newer fans, however, had little concern for NASCAR's regional affiliation and little knowledge of the sport's procedural details. They were drawn simply by the excitement and drama of the races.
Young & Rubicam thus had to calibrate its message so that it would speak to both kinds of NASCAR fans. "How Bad Have You Got It?" attempted to do so by focusing on the fans themselves, featuring intentionally ordinary-looking families in suburban neighborhoods with no regional or geographic markers. These families were defined by the one characteristic uniting NASCAR fans across cultural boundaries: their obsession with the sport.
The National Football League (NFL) was the dominant sports league at this time, far outranking other pro sports in terms of U.S. popularity. The NFL, however, was not immune from the effects of the 2000–01 economic downturn, which decreased ad revenues during game broadcasts. In an effort to combat this trend as well as declines in ratings, in 2001 the NFL enlisted an outside advertising agency for the first time, choosing the New York office of the same agency NASCAR had recently engaged, Young & Rubicam. The resulting campaign, released in the fall of 2001, was meant to encourage casual NFL fans to become more devoted followers of the sport. Whereas previous campaigns had used the tagline "Feel the power" along with high-energy, collision-focused game footage to appeal to ardent fans, the new campaign, tagged "This Is What It's All About," was built upon the idea that casual fans had less appreciation for the collisions and athletic feats that thrilled devotees of the sport. The NFL and Young & Rubicam believed that these casual fans watched NFL games for social reasons, enjoying the camaraderie surrounding the broadcasts and the conversations about games at work each Monday during football season. In a move that was similar to NASCAR's new marketing strategy, the campaign's TV spots thus focused on fans rather than game footage. One commercial juxtaposed a fan's pregame activities with those of star Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George, while another depicted a fan's game-time backyard barbecue as a high-stakes "NFL experience" in its own right.
In 2001 the National Basketball Association (NBA) was struggling to generate the ratings it had enjoyed prior to the 1999 retirement of Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player in the league's history. This was Jordan's second retirement. As a means of countering sagging U.S. viewership, the NBA emphasized international markets in a campaign that was launched contemporaneously with "How Bad Have You Got It?" The campaign's TV commercials featured still photographs that transformed into live action, and they showcased a new generation of NBA stars, including Shaquille O'Neal, Vince Carter, and Tim Duncan. Producer Joe Chodosh of NBA Entertainment (the in-house department responsible for the campaign) told Adweek, "Because of the beauty of the moment captured in still photos, viewers are able to see a lot more in these images than when they normally watch basketball." The campaign aired in 207 countries. In the fall of 2001 Jordan announced that he would once again return from retirement. This complicated the league's marketing of younger stars but promised dramatic ratings increases. Jordan retired for the last time after the 2002–03 season.
For NASCAR fans part of the thrill came from the risk that drivers took in traveling at such speeds and in such dangerous proximity to one another. Many fans openly acknowledged that they attended races hoping to witness car crashes. In 2001, however, just as the "How Bad Have You Got It?" campaign was getting underway, one of the sport's most traumatic accidents occurred. Dale Earnhardt, sometimes referred to as the Michael Jordan of NASCAR, was killed in the final lap of the Daytona 500 on February 18, 2001. The violent end to his career, which spanned more than 25 years, led many in the media to call for stricter safety standards for NASCAR races, but fans, observers noted, considered death an inevitable part of the drama that drew them to the sport. Perhaps supporting this notion was the fact that NASCAR saw significant ratings jumps for the 2001 races following Earnhardt's death.
NASCAR budgeted an estimated $25 to $30 million for marketing in the 2001 racing season, a dramatic increase over previous years that was in keeping with the sport's growing popularity and the new network-broadcast arrangements. "How Bad Have You Got It?" consisted of eight different TV spots, each of which focused on the same NASCAR-obsessed family. The spots aired on the stations with newly minted broadcast rights to NASCAR races: NBC, TNT, FOX, and FX. Print ads echoed the theme of a family's obsession with the sport and ran in NASCAR race programs and other in-house publications as well as in USA Today. The campaign's launch on February 18, 2001, was timed to coincide with the start of that year's 10-month racing season.
The campaign had its genesis in the advertising review NASCAR had conducted in 2000. As part of its pitch to win the NASCAR account, Young & Rubicam had sent to the organization's executives a video depicting agency employees who could not contain their enthusiasm for racing. One segment, for instance, showed an employee using a toilet lever as though it were a gearshift while making revving sounds. The agency's pitch for the account also included the family-oriented strategy, which resonated with the organization's sense of its changing audience. The move away from the focus on racing footage that had grounded the previous three years' TV spots was also partly determined by the nature of the other advertising that appeared during NASCAR telecasts. Because sponsors typically included racing footage in their advertising, NASCAR needed a different formula if it hoped to build further brand equity within that environment.
The "How Bad Have You Got It?" TV spots each revealed the intensity of the subject family's NASCAR addiction by showing how it altered otherwise ordinary situations. For instance, "Tire Swing" showed the father changing out his daughter's tire swing as though he was the member of a racing team's pit crew. "Diner," meanwhile, focused on the family's wood-paneled station wagon as it pulled into a restaurant parking space; rather than exiting through the car doors, the family members simultaneously climbed out through the windows, mimicking stock-car drivers' mode of entry and exit. "Badminton" opened with a shot of the family's children playing badminton; the camera then cut to a shot of the father replacing the car windows with netting from the badminton set to duplicate the look of stock-car windows. "Neighbor" introduced the commonplace scene of a husband and wife in bed, unable to sleep because of a noisy neighbor—a neighbor who was, significantly, revving an engine. When the husband rose from bed, viewers were meant to anticipate a verbal confrontation or an attempt to mute the sound; instead, the husband opened the window wide. The commercial then cut to a scene of husband and wife sleeping peacefully, lulled by the roaring engine in the background.
Print ads used imagery in keeping with the family-focused NASCAR obsession dramatized in the TV spots. For instance, a man was shown on a riding mower with an image of a racetrack scored into the lawn beneath him. Another print ad showed a child's crayon portraits of racetracks affixed to a refrigerator.
"How Bad Have You Got It?" was extended into the 2002 racing season, but the concept was tweaked to avoid repetition, which had become a slight problem the year before because the same eight spots had continued to run for the entire 10 months of the season. "We needed to throw a new element into the campaign," Roger Vandersnick, NASCAR's director of brand and series marketing, explained to Adweek. This included an expansion of the cast of characters to include not just racing fans but also NASCAR stars. The overall concept, as well as the avoidance of extensive racing footage, remained in place. Young & Rubicam provided viewers with further variety in the middle of the 2002 season by unveiling a subcampaign in which a news anchor opened spots by asking fans to compare their own NASCAR fever to that of other comically devoted fans.
"How Bad Have You Got It?" won a Gold EFFIE Award and garnered a Bronze Lion at the Cannes International Advertising Festival in 2002. The NASCAR television audience increased substantially during the campaign's run, though the streamlined TV broadcasting arrangement brokered in 2001 was also a significant factor in these increases. NASCAR's fan base continued to grow. In 2002 NASCAR initiated an ad-agency review, soliciting ideas from DDB Chicago and the Martin Agency of Richmond, Virginia, but the organization decided that its interests would be best served by continuing to work with Young & Rubicam. "We have been impressed by the quality of work we have seen [from the contending agencies]," Vandersnick told Adweek, "but believe wholeheartedly that Y & R remains the agency for us."
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