SBD/May 17, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Charlotte Motor Speedway Uses Busch-Harvick Feud In New All-Star Campaign

Charlotte Motor Speedway’s marketing department “wasted no time in trying to capitalize on the feud between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, celebrating the drivers' spat in an advertisement” for Saturday's All-Star Race, according Jenna Fryer of the AP. The digital ad “went viral two days after Busch and Harvick tangled post-race” at the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 7. It features the image of Harvick “trying to punch Busch through his open window as Busch uses his car to nudge Harvick's empty car out of the way.” The ad reads, “It Gets Settled In The Race For $1 Million." Fryer noted NASCAR fined Busch and Harvick $25,000 each, and "placed them on probation through June 15.” Although probation “doesn't have a clear definition in NASCAR, the drivers have likely been told to stay away from each other on and off the track for the next month.” CMS officials “launched the ad before the NASCAR penalties were handed down, but make no apologies for the mixed message being sent to race fans.” CMS President Marcus Smith: "It's current news and it helps to attract some attention to the event. That, along with great racing all year long, has helped with ticket sales." Fryer noted CMS’ primary TV ad for the All-Star Race has been a "Wild West" themed commercial with NASCAR President Mike Helton in a "cameo role" (AP, 5/16).

: Speed is televising Saturday's All-Star Race, and it is 1-2% ahead of its '10 ad sales for its Sprint All-Star week and race programming. The network has added new advertisers like Funai, a Japanese electronics company, Wal-Mart and Weight Watchers Online for Men. It also has seen increased spending from past sponsors like Lowe's and Sprint. Speed VP/Sales David Safran said, "Coming off the good start with Speedweeks, we've had a lot of momentum and All-Star is really well sold." Lowe's is running a promotion around five-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who will drive the No. 5 Chevrolet in the race. The home improvement store is offering customers 5% off their purchase when they use a Lowe's credit card in stores. Sprint, the naming-rights partner for the All-Star Race, plans to debut a new product in similar fashion to the HTC Evo 4G phone it unveiled and promoted during the '10 event. Funai, which is the parent company of Magnavox and Sylvania, will be the official HD sponsor of NASCAR on Speed, and Weight Watchers Online for Men will do its first male marketing initiative by sponsoring a custom feature during the lead-up to the NASCAR All-Star Showdown (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).
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