Includes Promotional Pact With League's Top Drivers

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NEW YORK ( -- The Gillette Co. this morning announced a $20 million comprehensive marketing deal with Nascar that includes exclusive category sponsorships with the racing league and promotional agreements with six of the circuit's top drivers, who will be dubbed the Gillette Young Guns.

The deal is for the 2004 Nascar Nextel Cup season, which begins in February.

Campaign in the works
John Manfredi, senior vice president of

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corporate affairs for Gillette, told that the company's agency, Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, has already begun drafting storyboards for a campaign to be built around the sponsorship.

Boston-based Gillette's deal with Nascar is for official partner status in the shaving products, alkaline battery and oral care categories. Its agreement with drivers Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth is a marketing and promotional deal.

Drivers to appear in ads
Gillette will not be replacing any of the drivers' respective main sponsors, who each pay more than $10 million per year to fund a team for 36 races. But the company chose well -- Mr. Kenseth is the 2003 Nascar points champion and the other five all finished in the top 10 of the point standings -- and will be using the drivers in dedicated Nascar print and broadcast advertising, in-store promotions, licensing and other consumer promotions.

"We are stepping up our involvement and use of sports marketing because we feel it will be effective for our products," Mr. Manfredi told "Nascar has an audience of about 75 million fans, and it also has a very high loyalty factor in terms of the fans and their loyalty to the products that are associated with Nascar."

A national sweepstakes is also part of the sponsorship with the drivers. The Gillette Young Guns $5 Million Challenge offers fans a chance to win $5 million during next season's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Memorial Day Weekend and again at the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. The Gillette Young Guns must finish one through six in either race, and a consumer must have chosen the correct order of finish to collect the prize. If there is a $5 million consumer winner, Gillette also will donate $5 million to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition.

"Nascar is delighted to re-establish our association with a consumer products giant like Gillette, which will be involved in our sport at multiple levels," Brett Yormark, NNascar's vice president of corporate marketing, said in a statement.

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