When NASCAR confirmed it would be the first major sport to return to action since the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew it wasn’t just going to be a race—it was going to be a cultural milestone. As the official tire of NASCAR, Goodyear wasn’t about to sit on the virtual sidelines.
With about a week till race day and a team working from their homes, it took creativity, agility and some serious virtual collaboration to pull off a 360-degree campaign amidst the pandemic. Getting creative took on many forms over the course of the coming days, from a Zoom voiceover session with Dale Earnhardt Jr. to focusing solely on historical footage versus a live-action shoot.
Within five days, GSD&M produced a suite of creative across TV, radio and digital, all in-house. In coordination with Goodyear and partner agencies, the campaign also extended to social, aerial coverage, ecommerce programs and sweepstakes—all launching around The Real Heroes 400 on Sunday, May 17.
“NASCAR’s return to racing is a bright spot in these unprecedented times, and, for so many, this year’s Darlington 400 carries a special meaning and a sense of normalcy,” said Karen Maroli, Goodyear’s vice president of marketing.
Even though fans were watching from home, Goodyear, NASCAR and fans were back together for a major milestone in the sport’s history—one that extended beyond avid fans. In fact, viewership of The Real Heroes 400 was up by over 38% compared to the last NASCAR race prior to the pandemic.
While the process might not have been normal by conventional standards, the work symbolizes the return to a legacy that Goodyear and NASCAR started over 60 years ago.