Air Force 'Switching Seats' with NASCAR campaign

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The Air Force, along with its contract advertising agency GSD&M Idea City, launches the multimedia marketing campaign "Switching Seats" March 23 in support of its NASCAR partnership.

The campaign centers on the parallels between Air Force and NASCAR high-performance jobs, and focuses on No. 43 driver Reed Sorenson and crewmembers engaged in each others' jobs.

"Switching job roles with someone can be a rewarding and educational experience -- especially when your job is to pilot an F-15 (Eagle) fighter jet or drive a car going more than 200 mph," said Christa D'Andrea, the public affairs chief for Air Force Recruiting Service here. "This campaign allows people to experience the hands-on, minds-on and problem-solving tactics of both the Air Force and NASCAR."

The campaign includes a new NASCAR Web site located on the recently redesigned that documents the job-switching activities. In a series of Webisodes, Mr. Sorenson and his crew participate in Basic Military Training, a 30,000-foot air refueling mission and an F-15 orientation ride, while Air Force men and women join the car No. 43 crew in a NASCAR pit stop while racing against the clock.

"Switching Seats" is designed to appeal to young NASCAR fans who are mechanically and technically inclined and whose interests are similar to other young men and women choosing to pursue those interests as part of an Air Force career, said Capt. Richard Solorzano, the AFRS Advertising Branch chief.

The Web site features advanced interactive capabilities including a tracker that uses Air Force Global Positioning System technology to monitor where the No. 43 car is at any time. The site also has a "Reed Fanzone" where fans can submit questions to the driver, and he will respond with a video message. Fans can also download car-care tips and No. 43 pit crew and Air Force special operations workout routines. Other site features include poll questions and fun facts about NASCAR.

Online banner ads complement the Web site and will also run on NASCAR, Yahoo! Sports, Sports Illustrated, and Fox Sports Web sites through July 2009. A 30-second TV spot supporting the campaign will air in 10 NASCAR markets.

In November 2008, the Air Force announced both a primary and associate sponsorship with Richard Petty Motorsports, formerly known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports, for the No. 43 car driven by Mr. Sorenson. As a primary sponsor, the car will feature the Air Force paint scheme in four of 38 NASCAR races this season.

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