Indycar Hopes Movie Lures Younger Fans

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Published March 16, 2012

| FOXBusiness

Think: Reese’s Pieces.

The now-legendary story of how the orange and brown candies became an American favorite in 1982 is the exact lead IndyCar wants to follow today. It’s perhaps the most successful example of product placement in history and involves the lovable creature in Steven Spielberg’s mega-hit, “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” whom a child lures all the way to his bedroom with a path of the peanut butter and chocolate chip candies.

Instant name recognition, sales through the roof, new consumers everywhere.

Can a hopeful little snail named “Turbo” do the same for IndyCar?

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard is banking on it. IndyCar has partnered with Dreamworks Animation on a film about a garden snail who dreams of winning the Indianapolis 500. After a freak accident gives the slug the power of hyper-speed, the little guy slinks around attempting to win the famed race.

In this collaboration, IndyCar drivers team with Dreamworks animators and scriptwriters to try to find the best way to bring the idea of Indy racing to a new (read younger) demographic and, in turn, hopefully spawn new fans who buy race tickets and merchandise.

According to Scarborough Sports Marketing data, IndyCar fans trend toward men ages 45-64. Children barely register on the demo charts, and while racing is hot with video games and interactive media, relatively few youngsters actually attend races.

Though Bernard had every desire to skew his sport to a younger audience, it was actually Dreamworks that approached IndyCar about joining forces. And after meeting with Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Bernard was sold. No doubt the success of Disney’s “Cars,” which featured NASCAR-type talking vehicles, got the IndyCar concept germinating at Dreamworks Animation’s headquarters in Glendale, Calif. But Bernard so liked the idea he immediately offered to lend his drivers to the studio as consultants.

Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti immediately jumped to the task, Bernard told the FOX Business Network, and helped steer the Dreamworks Animation team to Victory Lane when it came to authenticity.

Lending their voices to the toon will be such actors as Samuel L. Jackson, Ryan Reynolds and Maya Rudolph.

“Turbo” is scheduled to rev up theaters in the summer of 2013.

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