Thursday, June 05, 2008

Marketing Magic!

NASCAR is a brand name that has its foundation built on the backs of sponsors. NASCAR has their official sponsors, the tracks have their sponsors, each series has a sponsor, and of course the drivers have their sponsors.

Every week, from the first interview at the first practice session, (between the sponsoring advertising in commercials) to the very last shot in Victory Lane, the drivers recite the list all of the sponsor decals residing on their cars.

Fortune 500 firms employ teams of marketing experts to determine the right fit for their company, and usually have at least one corporate representative in attendance at every race. However, brilliant marketing is all about timing. A few examples are shown here!

The simplest example is the announcement that the #31 AT&T Chevrolet will carry a special paint scheme for the American athletes participating in the Beijing Olympics. While 100% honorable in their intent and the focus they are putting on the Olympics, one has to remember that AT&T is also an official sponsor for the Olympics. And the timing? The car will race on Sunday at Pocono, and on Monday, Steve Jobs is expected to announce the latest and greatest version of the iphone! And the exclusive carrier for the iphone would be....yes, AT&T!

Another example from the recent past is couched within the announcement that Gordon, DuPont re-up through 2010. While a reader who only catches headlines or the first few paragraphs may assume that Gordon had his contract extended, along with Dupont, the truth is, Jeff Gordon has a lifetime contract with Rick Hendrick. The truth is that Dupont is the only entity signing an extension. The timing? The announcement was timed for the Dover race, as the headquarters for Dupont reside in Wilmingon Delaware! This is a wonderful announcement to present to all of the VIP's that are sitting in the cushy Dupont Bridge hovering over the track.

Major headlines were made recently, when it was revealed that Elliott Sadler agreed to a two year extension with Gillette Evernham Motorsports. This announcement was brought out just in time for the Best Buy 400 at Dover. Sadler's sponsor, Best Buy, also jumped on board to support the special charity that is close to Sadler's heart, Autism The planets all aligned to have Sadler sign that contract just in the nick of time for the race! Or did they? If one goes back to April of 2008, you could read that Lee Spencer broke the story of Sadler's contract extension hidden in this article prior to the Phoenix race.
(Sadly, the planets did not align to give the Best Buy sponsors more than 19 laps of their car racing at the race!)

There is nothing wrong in marketing. In fact, the marketing that is performed in the name of NASCAR is what keeps our sport moving. It is fun,however, to look behind the actual press release to see where the marketing is hidden. Sometimes, you will find some jewels of knowledge! Or, should I say GEMs? At any rate, Brilliant!

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