TNT Targets Hard-Core NASCAR Fans

Turner Network Television has shifted the target of its National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing ad campaign this season, going after racing enthusiasts rather than general sports fans more likely to be interested baseball or basketball.

The drama network -- which has also hatched some local ad-sales campaigns aimed at promoting NASCAR and making money for cable affiliates -- will televise its first race of its half of the 2004 season July 25, the New England 300 in Loudon, N.H.

TNT’s consumer campaign, designed by Chicago ad agency Element 79 Partners, stars more than one-dozen top drivers, including Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray and Mark Martin.

“I think last year, we probably went after more casual fans, and this year, we are really narrow-targeting it to more of the hard-core [NASCAR] fan,” Turner Sports senior vice president of program marketing Jeff Gregor said.

Turner is also buying 90-second radio spots that will feature recaps of the previous week’s race and previews of the upcoming contests, Gregor said. TNT will run weekly races July 25-Sept. 26.

For more on TNT’s NASCAR campaign, please see Steve Donohue’s story on page 86 of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.