Dale Earnhardt Jr may be a name more known in the US, but many can relate to the theme of a new ad by Goodyear showing how the now-retired Nascar driver came out from the shadow of his legendary father to make his own legacy.
The names Goodyear and Earnhardt have been connected through decades and generations. Dale Earnhardt Sr was a Nascar legend, and the spot by GSD&M, ‘Make a Name,’ shows how Jr grew up on the raceways watching his father and dreaming of making his own name and fame in the sport.
With the commercial set to the late Jim Croce's iconic song I Got a Name – covered by his son, AJ Croce – the ad features Goodyear's history with the Earnhardt family. It shows early interviews with Earnhardt Jr at his father’s races talking about making it big someday, but paying reverence to Sr, who was killed in a crash in 2001 at Daytona Speedway. It also hints at Earnhardt’s future as a broadcaster for NBC covering the upcoming Daytona 500, where he won two titles.
"Goodyear has always been part of my family and I'm proud to partner with them on this 'Make a Name' spot, which is a reflection of one's legacy, values and drive," said Earnhardt Jr. "It tells a very personal story about me growing up, but it also hits home with where I am today, both personally and professionally."
To celebrate the new creative, Goodyear created a special design on its iconic blimp, temporarily replacing Goodyear with #MakeAName on Florida-based blimp Wingfoot One.
"We're excited to debut this commercial during one of the most legendary races, with one of the most legendary drivers," said Seth Klugherz, Goodyear's director of North America marketing. "Dale Jr's story underscores Goodyear's commitment to hard work, determination and drive, and we are proud to stand by his side."
I Got a Name was originally made famous by Jim Croce and used in the 1973 biopic about the life of legendary Nascar driver, Junior Johnson.
"It's been an honor to represent my family name and bring my father's song to life with Goodyear," said AJ Croce.
Earnhardt Jr won all his Nascar races with the support of Goodyear tires – including his first Nascar Premier Series victory in 2000, and both his Daytona 500 victories in 2004 and 2014. He returns to the Speedway as the Grand Marshal of the 60th running of the Daytona 500, representing his first appearance at the Great American Race since retiring in 2017.
The genial Earnhardt Jr is certainly no stranger to advertising and sponsorship, having most recently done ads for Mountain Dew and previously Wrangler Jeans and AC Delco, among others.