One of the better ads airing on Super Bowl Sunday won't be from a marketer paying $4.5 million for 30 seconds, but from the network broadcasting the game.
NBC Sports has cast Nick Offerman, the breakout comedy star of the network's own Parks and Recreation, to headline a campaign urging Americans to "get more Nascar in your life." And Offerman kills it in a 60-second mock music video that will air as the first spot after the final whistle in the game between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.
NBC is releasing just a 30-second teaser (see below) on Monday morning. But Bill Bergofin, senior vice president of marketing for NBC Sports, gave Adweek an exclusive preview of the Offerman spots—which includes an extended two-minute version, as well as the :60—in which he plays everything from a driver to an official breaking up a brawl to the guy waving the checkered flag.
The actor (who owns his own woodshop in real life) was a natural to tout NBC's return to broadcasting Nascar this summer. He has drawn raves for his comic portrayal of Parks and Rec's Ron Swanson, a staunch libertarian who keeps a sawed-off shotgun on his desk and believes the park system should be privatized like Chuck E. Cheese's.
"We just felt like he was the perfect character to carry the message," said Bergofin.
The ads were created by NBC's in-house unit led by chief marketing officer John Miller, with help from Hungry Man (and director Dave Laden).
In the teaser, called "Gut Check," Offerman declares that only Nascar can save "soft" Americans from themselves.
"If the founding fathers saw us huddled in our little cocoons, texting each other smiley faces, they'd hang their powdered wigs in shame," he says. "When our idea of danger is eating gluten, there's trouble afoot."
On Wednesday, NBC will post the two-minute video, called "America Start Your Engines," in which Offerman hilariously raps about the "bad-ass" appeal of Nascar in Nanny State America.
"Sure, everybody at Nascar gets a trophy. As long as they win the f**king race!" Offerman says, as he leans out the window of a race car.
On Super Bowl Sunday, NBC will show "Gut Check" during pre-game programming. Then it will lead in the first commercial pod after the game with a 60-second version of "Start Your Engines." Among the lyrics:
Welcome to the place where we speed all day
Where we bump and grind in a non-sexual way
Where scores are settled, and we break the rules
And everybody's got a set of badass tools
Get some Nascar in your life
Hello glory, goodbye strife
NBC is also planning a non-Offerman spot called "Fan for Life" for Sunday's pre-game. All the spots will air on NBC, NBCSN and other networks in the coming weeks. NBC hopes Offerman's videos go viral the way its "Coach Ted Lasso" promos for the Premier League soccer with Saturday Night Live alum Jason Sudeikis did.
Taking over from ESPN, NBC Sports has agreed to pay $4.4 billion over 10 years to air the second half of Nascar's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, according to SportsBusiness Daily. Fox Sports has rights to the first half of the Nascar season.
Client: NBC Sports Agency
John Miller – CMO
Bill Bergofin – SVP Marketing/ECD
Lorin Finkelstein – VP Brand/Co-ECD
Lindsay Davenport – Producer
Production Company: Hungry Man
Allan Broce – EP/CD
Dave Laden – Director
Eric Schmidt – DP
Erin Sullivan – Producer
Craig Repass – Line Producer
Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors
VFX: The Mill
Music: Beacon Street