Comic books meet NASCAR Batman/Joker theme is Ford marketing idea

"This gets us into venues beyond traditional race audiences." Roy Gadomski, Ford Quality Care Motorsports coordinator.

August 23, 1998|By DETROIT FREE PRESS

Dale Jarrett appeared as Batman and Kenny Irwin as the Joker in last night's Goody's 500 NASCAR race in Bristol, Tenn.

Their Ford Tauruses have received special paint jobs, and both drivers will wear suits and headgear patterned after the comic book stars.

What makes this so special? After all, Winston Cup cars promote everything from Tide to the Cartoon Network to Hot Wheels.

This time, though, it's Ford's marketing concept.

"This gets us into venues beyond traditional race audiences," said Roy Gadomski, Ford Quality Care Motorsports coordinator. "It breaks us out of our traditional marketing mold."

Jarrett drives car No. 88, Irwin No. 28.

They will square off again in their Batman/Joker cars at the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 4.

The "Showdown at Charlotte" promotion also will get the speedway involved. The sprawling track will be decorated like Gotham City, where Batman and Joker have dueled for a half-century in DC Comics, TV shows and movies.

There's more. Five lucky race fans who register at Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealerships by Sept. 12 can win tickets to the race and participate in Batman/Joker festivities.

The Batman/Joker schemes will be sold as collectible die-cast stock cars, apparel and souvenir products that also will put extra cash in the pockets of Jarrett and Irwin, who drive for Robert Yates and are backed by Ford Racing technology.

"It's also entertaining for the fans and gives me a hook to further promote Quality Care service," Gadomski said. "We plan to use the Batman die-cast stock car as a premium to offer people for trying Quality Care."

Pub Date: 8/23/98

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