BBH Airs First Work From U.S. Office

15 Humorous ESPN Nascar Spots Will Roll Out in Coming Months
NEW YORK–Bartle Bogle Hegarty is bowing an ad campaign for ESPN’s Nascar coverage, its first work since launching its U.S. office here at the beginning of the year.
Fifteen 15-second TV commercials touting the fun and machismo of car racing will roll out over the next several months with the tagline, “It’s about men. It’s about cars.” Print and outdoor ads will accompany the spots.
“When the client changed the brief from 30s to 15s, we decided to do quick gags consistent with the tagline,” said copywriter Stephanie Crippen, who developed the campaign along with art director K.P. Anderson, under creative director Ty Montague.
One gag shows a racer polishing his beloved car, only to have it besmirched by a bird. The driver curses, then blows the offender out of the sky with a shotgun.
Another shows two guys at the raceway playing frisbee with a hubcap. A third spot pans the backs of racers at urinals in the men’s room. “Long race,” one driver declares.
“The ESPN viewer is the ultimate sports fan, so the advertising had to have a slightly insider’s feel,” said Montague.
BBH, whose sterling reputation in the U.K. is based on its strategically driven orientation, did not have to dig too deeply for this campaign. “ESPN is not a brand that suffers from an identity crisis, so we didn’t need much research,” said Anderson.
The campaign was shot by director Tom Schiller, who helmed the lauded Courtyard by Marriott hotel campaign for Lowe & Partners/ SMS and was the creative force behind the late John Belushi’s Samurai skit on Saturday Night Live.
The previous work, known as the “Ride Along” campaign, was shot inside a car with repartee between the driver, fans and sports heroes. “Our campaign evolved that work and extended it,” said Montague.
The campaign will run on ESPN and possibly on affiliates of parent company Walt Disney, such as ABC.
The shop, which is working on its first campaign for Reebok, won the account without a review. Lee Ann Daly, ESPN vice president of advertising, knew Montague previously.