Racer Stewart Gives Endorsement Lessons For BK

Tony Stewart Burger King Corporation (BKC) is launching a campaign this month that includes the first TV spots reflecting a multi-year deal with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racer Tony Stewart and his Stewart-Haas Racing team. The deal, signed in January, stipulates that Stewart will appear in commercials, restaurant promotions and at BKC-sponsored events.

The new ad effort puts Stewart in ads for BK's Whopper sandwich. But it is also a meta-commentary on the phenomenon of product endorsement deals of the kind that BK has signed with Stewart.

One spot opens on a shot of the "Tony Stewart School of Endorsements" shingle outside a quaint office. Inside, Stewart holds forth in his NASCAR suit, giving advice to a classroom of athletes and B-listers. He advises actor Erik Estrada, formerly of the '80s TV show "CHiPs," and Vegas comedian Carrot Top on how to endorse products.



"You have to sell things people love -- people have to trust you; you are what you endorse," he says, while jotting on the blackboard.

"Why is nobody buying my Estrada Glasses? Hello!" says Estrada, who sits beside a display of the shades.

"Look at me, I got a million of these Carrot Crushers to unload," says the cosmetically redesigned comic Carrot Top. "Nothin'."

There will be three more spots, including one wherein Stewart submits to a polygraph test to verify that his passion for the Whopper is authentic.

Stewart will also participate in a live polygraph test hosted by Beginning Sept. 28, people can submit questions to be asked of Stewart during the hour-long webcast, which happens on Oct. 20.

A sweepstakes lets consumers submit codes found on value meals to www. to vie for the grand prize of a day spent at Stewart's race shop for the winner and three friends, as well as "BK Crown Cards" and merchandise.

Burger King restaurants will also have Stewart-Haas Racing-themed packaging and merchandise, and Stewart's No. 14 Chevy Impala now has a BK paint scheme. The quick-serve chain also signed a deal this year to be the exclusive QSR sponsor of Eldora Speedway in Weston, Ohio. Activation surrounding this sponsorship will include Burger King signage at the track, hospitality and other on-site activities.

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