DC COMICS' MAN OF STEEL APPLIES HIS METTLE TO RACING

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Marketers: DC Comics, New York, and Action Performance Cos., Phoenix.

Effort: "Superman Racing."

Agency: in-house.

Twist: To expand its reach into new venues and audiences, DC Comics formed a partnership with motorsports marketing powerhouse Action Performance Cos. for a wide-ranging integrated promotion putting Superman in a race car for the first time in history. In nine different motorsports events this year, one vehicle will be Superman-themed for the day, starting with Jeff Gordon's Nascar appearance May 22 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. An array of "Superman Racing" merchandise accompanies the effort, including an exclusive T-shirt sold starting May 21 at Kmart Corp; the shirt is polybagged with a free custom "Superman Meets the Motorsports Champions" comic.

Vital statistics: The Superman effort will be backed by features on cable's The Nashville Network and on QVC, which hosts a special "Superman Racing" segment May 21. Kmart offers support in two national newspaper inserts appearing May 17 and May 23. The effort also is supported online via (www.goracing.com) and

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