The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

NASCAR and ESPN collaborate on glitzy promotional campaign for new Chase format

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - NASCAR will promote its revamped Chase for the Sprint Cup championship format with a new advertising campaign officially launched on Friday with the theme of: "Sixteen nations: Ten battles. One will prevail."

The campaign is a collaborative effort by ad giant Ogilvy & Mather, NASCAR and ESPN, and features five original television spots and an educational video. There's also a social media push behind the campaign, and several drivers tweeted a link to the video this week.

It's the most engaging advertising campaign in NASCAR history, and is meant to draw attention to the 10-race Chase that begins Sept. 14. The final phase of the campaign, before the Nov. 16 season finale at Homestead, concludes with the "Four nations battle. One will prevail" theme as the Sprint Cup will be decided in a winner-take-all shootout among the four drivers still eligible.

"We made a bold decision at the beginning of the season to make our Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup all about winning," said Brent Dewar, NASCAR chief operating officer. "Now that we're just weeks away from the start of the Chase, NASCAR, working closely with ESPN, is going to market with a creative platform that is just as innovative and reflective of how important this moment is for our sport."

The collaboration with ESPN is the first of its kind with a broadcast partner and NASCAR. ESPN holds the rights to the 10-race Chase.

"The campaign celebrates this bold and transformational moment in NASCAR's history, taking fans along for the ride and accentuating the drama and intensity of the new elimination format as each round unfolds." said Scott Parker, vice-president of marketing at ESPN.

The video promoted on social media this week by drivers was called "Spreading the Word," and featured Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch explaining the new Chase format to fans as the drivers summon their "driver nations" for support.

The first of the five ads will debut Saturday and follows teams, drivers and fans as they prepare for the Chase. Subsequent 30-second spots will be released for each round of the Chase.

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