Sunday’s 50th Super Bowl was pretty forgettable but there was a memorable advertisement for the 100th Indianapolis 500 that was geared to encourage ticket buyers for the May 29th classic. (Watch the commercial below.)
The regional ad featured shots of inaugural winner Ray Harroun, 1920 champ Gaston Chevrolet, four-time kings A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser plus the current drivers whose face appears on the Borg-Warner Trophy – Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Juan Montoya.
As the drivers images appeared the narrator talked about “innovators, heroes and dreamers who didn’t ask why but why not and pushed boundaries and this year we honor them for the 100th time in the race of the century.” It prompted viewers to go to IMS.com for tickets.
Developed by MSK Advertising of Indianapolis and IMS Productions, the 30-second spot was shown in Fort Wayne, Lafayette, Terre Haute, along with Dayton and Columbus, Ohio during Denver’s 24-10 victory over Charlotte.
“We don’t honestly need to go to television to get the word out but we thought it was important with the 100th Indianapolis 500 and a good opportunity to promote all the events at IMS as well as the Verizon IndyCar series,” said C.J. O’Donnell, chief marketing officer for IMS and IndyCar. “We aired an ad during the Rolex 24 in Illinois, Ohio and Indiana and we’ll also run Sunday’s ad again during the Daytona 500 in Indianapolis, Columbus and Dayton.”
O’Donnell was asked if this was an indication that ticket sales weren’t going well for the 100th running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”?
“No, ticket sales are up exponentially from last year, as we expect them to be,” he replied. “But we want to sell the place out and we’re pushing hard.”
Indy hasn’t been sold out since 1995, the year before the CART/IRL split.
O’Donnell also said a TV ad is already airing in St. Petersburg, Fla. to promote the season opener on March 13 and that will be the policy at other cities on the IndyCar schedule. And there will be a separate ad campaign for the Angie’s List Grand Prix on May 14 at IMS.