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Indy 500 champ Ryan Hunter-Reay - the face of AutoNation's $20 million ad campaign

(via South Florida Business Journal)

IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay is the face of AutoNation's biggest advertising campaign yet, as the company "races" to 10 million cars sold. 

AutoNation chose the Fort Lauderdale native to appear on signage and commercials for the $20-million, 60-day multimedia marketing push because the company felt there was no better person in the racing world to represent the brand, said AutoNation Spokesman Marc Cannon. 

"He is absolutely what AutoNation stands for," Cannon said. 

Hunter-Reay is the champion of the 2012 IndyCar Series and the 2014 Indianapolis 500. He said he recently wrapped up his scenes for an AutoNation TV advertisement in Los Angeles and is jumping back into the driver's seat to train for the Indianapolis 500, which will begin later this month. 

The commercials, which celebrate the company's 10 millionth car sold — a feat no other auto retailer has achieved — will launch in 25 local markets starting May 13. From May 24 to June 4, AutoNation's TV advertisements begin to air nationally on ABC and CNBC. In addition to the millions of viewers who will see the commercials, another 9 million iHeart Radio listeners are expected to be reached through radio and email. Signage promoting the company's sweepstakes will also be displayed in each of the company's 282 stores. 

AutoNation will give away cars to three customers across the country at the end of May, which is right around when AutoNation expects to reach its 10 millionth car sold. One customer will be chosen to meet Hunter-Reay in Sonoma, California and also have a chance to win $10 million dollars or a lesser prize of a Honda Accord, which is valued at $25,000. 

"Their 10 millionth car sold is an astounding achievement," Hunter-Reay said. "They've been great partner and I'm looking forward to the celebration and campaign." 

 

More about Hunter-Reay:

How did you first get involved with AutoNation?

Mike Jackson knew I was from Fort Lauderdale and we met at a lot of events. One thing led to another and the next thing you know the AutoNation name is on my helmet and we're sitting at the Indy 500's victory lane together. 

What other advertising campaigns have you been part of?

This one’s going to be massive. I previously did a big commercial campaign with Izod back in 2008, which was a lot of fun. Certainly AutoNation is the leader in its industry and I’m looking forward to see how it all comes out. 

How has the company been involved in your charity?

They've been great partners. For the last two and a half years, AutoNation has been very involved in my charity, Racing for Cancer. I lost my mother to stage 4 colon cancer and started a charity in her honor. Jackson and [former AutoNation COO] Mike Maroone are extremely active in the cancer awareness community. It's been a great matchup, they've been matching every dollar raised on the motor sports side of it. We've raised about $4 million. 

What's your favorite car to drive when you're not on the track?

We have two kids, so when I'm not driving a race car at 240 miles per hour, I'm driving an Acura MDX with two car seats in the back on the weekends.

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