Burger King taps NASCAR driver for multichannel push

Burger King has teamed up with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart, who is serving as the focus of an integrated campaign for the fast food restaurant.

Launched last week, the campaign showcases the fast food chain’s signature Whopper hamburger — Stewart’s favorite menu item, according to the creative — and spotlights the driver in numerous efforts, including TV and online ads and in-store merchandising. The effort seeks to engage existing customers and attract new ones.

The campaign also includes a sweepstakes, which customers can enter for a chance to win free Burger King food and merchandise, as well as a grand prize day at Stewart’s race shop. To enter, they must submit codes found on medium and large value meals at BKRacing.com.

“Burger King has long understood the power of NASCAR,” said Robin Chung, a spokesperson for Burger King, in an e-mail to DMNews. “With millions of brand-loyal fans, NASCAR provides the perfect opportunity to speak directly to our customers.”

Throughout the initiative, which runs through the end of October, Burger King will distribute Stewart-themed packaging in its stores. Each package features a call to action to participate in the sweepstakes. Meanwhile, Stewart will continue to race in his Burger King-branded car.

The TV and Web campaign will culminate with Stewart proving his love for the Whopper by taking a polygraph test live during the “Polygraph Buzz” and “Polygraph Prep” ads. The lie-detection test will take place on October 20 at TruthAboutTony.com. Beginning September 28, fans will be invited to submit and vote on questions for Stewart to answer during the live webcast.

The campaign supports the multiyear sponsorship agreement between Burger King and Stewart-Haas Racing, which began earlier this year. Called “The Tony Stewart school of endorsements,” the effort includes creative in which Stewart teaches other celebrities, such as Erik Estrada and Carrot Top, how to successfully endorse products. In the creative, Stewart advises the others to only endorse products that they believe in.

“This campaign speaks directly to our core audience, Burger King restaurant guests and fans of Tony Stewart,” Chung continued. “Tony is edgy and provocative, which resonates strongly with [them].”

The efforts is one of many created by Burger King and its ad AOR Crispin Porter & Bogusky. In January, the two created the “Whopper Sacrifice” on Facebook, which challenged consumers to delete 10 friends in order to win a free Whopper. The campaign has been expanded to allow dropped friends to fight back with a BK-branded “Angry Gram” and an “Angry Whopper” that can be posted on the former friend’s wall. l

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