SBD/February 18, 2011/NASCAR Season Preview

AARP Kicking Off Drive To End Hunger Campaign In Earnest Around Daytona 500

AARP's Drive To End Hunger campaign will be promoted on Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Chevy
The AARP Foundation's Drive To End Hunger campaign kicks off in earnest this week in Daytona with the first of 22 at-track activation efforts. The Drive To End Hunger campaign will have a pavilion at the track featuring a show car, a simulator and a green screen for photos with driver Jeff Gordon, with whom the AARP Foundation last year signed a three-year sponsorship deal. Fans will be able to swipe credit cards and make donations that contribute to the AARP's effort to help more than 6 million Americans older than age 60 who face hunger issues. The AARP claims that it can buy seven meals for the hungry with every $1 donated. AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins said, "We hope to plead with the hearts and minds of NASCAR fans to make donations." The AARP Foundation will run similar programs in all 22 markets that Jeff Gordon drives the No. 24 AARP Foundation Drive To End Hunger car. It plans to support the on-site activation efforts with advertising about the Drive To End Hunger campaign on Speed and Fox. The AARP Foundation was the biggest new sponsor to come into NASCAR last year. In addition to having a presence at the track this week, the AARP Foundation partnered with local Winn-Dixie's in the Daytona area to hold food drives leading up the race. That food and leftover food from the weekend's races at Daytona Int'l Speedway will be donated to the Second Harvest Foodbank of Central Florida.

CORPORATE DONORS ALREADY FOUND: Two companies -- UnitedHealth Group and JP Morgan Chase -- have made donations to the Drive to End Hunger. Jenkins said that they and other corporate donors may be featured at retail as supporters of future food drives the AARP Foundation plans to hold at grocery stores in other race markets. Jenkins said, "We're putting together collateral for materials in grocery stores around the companies. It may be that an underwriter has their name co-branded with the foundation as someone solve this issue (of hunger)." However, UnitedHealth and Chase will not be featured on the No. 24 car, Jenkins said. The AARP Foundation still plans to sell space on the No. 24 car to partners, but it has not closed any deals. It hopes to have an announcement before the Daytona 500 regarding a partner on the car, Jenkins said. The AARP Foundation is still working on building an online application that tracks Drive To End Hunger donations and contributions. It hopes to launch one by the end of the second quarter.
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