In the world of sports, Tony Stewart is a household name. Fittingly since NASCAR drivers are making TV and web cameos these days as often as their NBA and NFL colleagues, with shows like ESPN.com’s Mayne Street or Vuguru’s Back on Topps regular stops for some easy publicity. But most of the time we’re talking a few choices lines and a drop in, not actually carrying a show.
When Tony Stewart’s NASCAR sponsor Armor All wanted to tap their star driver’s outgoing nature, they whipped up a reality web series last year called Off Track with Tony Stewart with their agency Edelman’s digital arm MATTER producing. It was a modest first effort—nothing too fancy or particularly buzzworthy—but good enough for Armor All to take it a step further.
You see, in the world of branded entertainment there’s the safe reality route and there’s the risker, but potentially golden, scripted comedy route. And web comedy aimed at males, with its often raunchy storylines, can be the riskiest of the lot. So you have to applaud the brand for heading down the path for laughs. They already had their star in Tony Stewart, the question now was whether he could act.
MATTER is calling this Season 2—Off Track With Tony Stewart: The Rookie—a four-episode scripted comedy about a new pit crew member (i.e. rookie) joining the Stewart-Haas racing team. Since this one’s essentially an office comedy, it needed some flush out an The Office-style cast like Theo Von from MTV’s The Real World, comedian Earthquake, Leyla Milani from Deal or No Deal, and Brian Dunkleman.
Like most branded web series lately the brand’s own Facebook page is the show’s hub, with the videos pushed out through YouTube. There’s also a planned release on Break.com and curated comedy network My Damn Channel later this week. There’s even a nice little bonus for “liking” the brand on Facebook, $2 off any Armor All product: