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Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Danica Patrick and NASCAR's future

Danica Patrick poses after winning the pole award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 on February 17, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The Daytona 500 is this Sunday, but fewer and fewer of us are taking the time to sit through NASCAR races. NASCAR wants to change that with a new ad campaign it’s unveiling this weekend.

The average NASCAR fan is 47-years-old. NASCAR’s new ad campaign is meant to appeal to a younger audience. It features close-ups of drivers looking tough.

In one spot, a series of drivers say, “In order to finish first, somebody’s got to finish second. I hate second.”

There are flashes of racecars. A couple of drivers shoving each other. Kim Brink, NASCAR’s vice president for marketing, says the idea is to highlight the suspense and drama of racing.

“You never know when someone’s going to crash," she explains.  "You never know when someone’s going to pass another guy. You never know when a driver’s going to get in a fight.”

2013 NASCAR campaign: Twist

 

Brink says NASCAR is aiming its ads at Hispanics -- some ads are in Spanish -- and millennials.  She says they’re also targeting 8- to 12-year-olds. Will it work? Brand strategist Adam Hanft doesn't think so.

“NASCAR is doing all the right things," he says, "but they may be doing it for the wrong sport.”

Hanft says even a polished ad campaign won’t change the fact that car racing is time consuming. 

“It’s a huge time suck," he says,  "you’re kind of in for the day."

Perhaps, not the best sport for time-starved, multi-tasking millennials. 

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.
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