After a four-month-long pitch, Nascar has chosen Ogilvy as its agency of record. The WPP agency will be responsible for helping Nascar launch a new brand platform at the Daytona 500's 55th anniversary race in February 2013.
As Ad Age reported in March, Nascar began a review for a full-service ad firm to help it grow its young and multicultural audiences. Ogilvy will help execute a five-year plan by NASCAR that aims to reinvigorate existing fans and create new ones. It will also be tasked with media strategy, promotions and digital support.
In a sign of how hungry agencies continue to be for new business, Nascar was inundated with 110 inquiries to pitch its business from agencies of all different sizes and disciplines upon news of its agency review.
That list was eventually whittled down to ten finalists, and in late June Nascar visited three finalist shops -- in addition to Ogilvy, Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson and Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett were in the running -- which presented to a group of senior execs, including Nascar Chairman-CEO Brian France.
Ogilvy's presentations edged out the competition. "We were thoroughly impressed with the caliber of all three finalists; but Ogilvy's consistency, creativity and dynamic leadership were the key differentiators," said Kim Brink, Nascar managing director of brand, consumer and series marketing, said in a statement. "We're delighted to join the agency's roster of big consumer brands."
Ms. Brink, who earlier in her career spent time at Cadillac, is understood to have initiated the review after arriving at Nascar last fall. Back in March, she told Ad Age that Nascar's ad budget going forward would be "way north" of its measured media spending of around $25 million last year.
Said John Seifert, chairman-CEO of Ogilvy & Mather North America, in a statement: "From the beginning of the agency review process, it was clear to us that Nascar was looking for a true business partner. We firmly believe that Nascar is a valuable tool in the marketing mix and a place where big brands get high return on investment. We couldn't be more proud to add the sport to our portfolio of global brands."
Nascar races are broadcast in more than 150 countries and in 20 languages, and the group has offices in eight cities across North America.