By Barry Janoff
February 21, 2014: Nascar's marketing partners will have the pole position — and all other positions — covered on Sunday when the 56th Daytona 500 officially powers up the 2014 Sprint Cup season.
The event at the Daytona International Speedway, broadcast on Fox (1 PM ET), is so big it comes with its own nickname — The Great American Race — and attracts so many marketers and so much media attention that it also is referred to as Nascar's Super Bowl.
Among the companies that will have presence on Fox with new creative are Chevrolet, with defending Nascar Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson; Ford, featuring its F-150 truck and Brad Keselowski; Coca-Cola, spotlighting the six drivers in the Coca-Cola Family of Racing drivers, including Danica Patrick, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano and Greg Biffle; Goodyear, with a 60-second spot in which Kevin Harvick talks about the "Science of Tires" and the "Science of Speed"; and two spots from Nationwide.
That is not to overlook Nascar's own brand campaign, "Unpredictable and Dramatic," which initially will be anchored by three TV spots to break on Sunday.
According to Nascar, "These spots will tap into the passion points of avid fans and future fans alike."
The three Nascar ads to hit during the Daytona 500 broadcast are:
* “Machine,” which "showcases our drivers’ grueling training regimens, designed to build the strength, endurance, focus, and lightning-quick reactions necessary to drive at speeds upwards of 150-200 mph while weaving in between and around fellow competitors."
• “Heroes,” which "highlights the sport's top drivers as aspirational athletes that young kids dream about becoming when they grow up."
• "Change,” which follows the progression of auto racing from its early days to Danica Patrick, green and pink race cars and meeting in the White House with President Obama, and positions Nascar as "the most unpredictable and dramatic experience in sports and celebrates how it has remained timeless and relevant for fans."
Lead agency is Ogilvy & Mather, NY.
“With a dual challenge to attract the next generation of fans, while deepening Nascar's emotional connection to avid fans, driver star power is the focal point of the campaign,” Adam Tucker, president of Ogilvy & Mather, said in a statement. “The work reinforces a core truth; at the heart of scar are megastar drivers who serve as role models, train like super-human athletes and ultimately represent everyday heroes in the hearts and minds of fans.”
Fox has also been supporting the race and its Nascar coverage with an umbrella brand campaign across its family of networs.
Among other touch-points, several companies have at retail packaging unique to the Daytona 500, including special-edition cans from Coca-Cola, a Daytona 500 M&M’s Nascar mix in Kroger stores and nationwide Nascar-theme packaging from Ritz Crackers.
Nascar said it would continue to work with marketing partners, race teams and drivers to build alliance with fans in social media other areas, as well.
Revving up for the Daytona 500 are such activations as Nascar Social Drive (an on-going Twitter-based dialogue), Nascar Mobile app presented by Coors Light, Sprint and Toyota) and Nascar on Facebook (with nearly 3.9 million likes).
In Daytona, Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion and Jack Roush, owner of Roush Fenway Racing, along with 3M Racing officially opened the 3M Mobile Innovation Center at Daytona International Speedway.
The 3M Mobile Innovation Center "showcases how 3M technology, innovation and products benefit users in their home, life and company.," according to the company. Four displays feature Microreplication Technology, Film Technology, NonWoven Technology and Adhesive Technology.
Overall at-Track activation for the Daytona 500 is up for the second-straight year, according to Nascar.
“Racing fans bring much more than a beer cooler and a ball cap. They carry the most sophisticated wireless gear to tweet, post pics or access real-time news."
In addition to 3M, partners that have upgraded their activation space during the D500 include:Mars, which will return tot he midway with Peanut Garage, not activated sine 2009; DRIVE4COPD, Sunoco and Toyota.
New official partners activating at-track are 5.11 Tactical (new uniforms for Nascar officials), Sherwin Williams (a DIY retail promotion) and ACORE (American Council On Renewable Energy).
The Daytona 500 marks the sixth year of the Nascar Green Program, the recycling and sustainability program that Nascar said is the largest such program of any U.S. sport.
“Our new partnership with ACORE exemplifies Nascar’s commitment to expand the reach and scope of our Green platform,” Dr. Mike Lynch, vp-green innovation for Nascar, said when ACORE was signed to a multi-year deal earlier this month in alliance with Lockheed Martin.
“This collaboration will allow us to implement forward-thinking initiatives that are designed to educate our industry and fans about the benefits of putting environmentally responsible practices in place," said Lynch.
Among the companies supporting the Green Program at the track are Coca-Cola, Coors Light. Safety-Kleen Systems (which collects and refines more than 200,000 gallons of race-used oil annually), Goodyear (which said it recycles "approximately 121,000 tires in Nascar’s top three national series combined each year") and Sprint’s "Recycle for Victory," which the company said has to date "recycled more than 24 million phones."
On the broadcast side, Fox Sports 1’s Nascar Raceday (11 AM ET) begins the coverage, followed by the Daytona 500 pre-race show (Noon ET).
Fox’s 14th consecutive season of Nascar coverage also includes the inaugural Daytona 500 Bash at the Beach (Feb. 22, 8 PM ET), hosted by drivers Jeff Gordon and Danica Patrick.
Also, for the first time Fox Sports GO (FoxSportsGO.com), the app that provides live-streaming video of Fox Sports content, will have live, streaming coverage of the ‘Great American Race.’
Austin Dillon in his No. 3 DOW Chevy has the pole position in a race filled with a Who's Who of racing: Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth (who won in 2012), Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Terry and Bobby Labonte, Greg Biffle, Danica Patrick, Kyle Busch, Michael Waltrip and Tony Stewart, who spent the past offs-eason rehabilitating his right leg, which was broken last August in a sprint car crash.
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