SBD/September 19, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Diet Mountain Dew Taking Over For Amp As Primary Sponsor Of No. 88

Diet Mountain Dew to replace Amp as Earnhardt’s primary sponsor for 16 races
Amp Energy is "phasing its brand off" Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride, according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. PepsiCo is expected to announce this week that Diet Mountain Dew "will replace its Amp Energy brand as Earnhardt’s primary sponsor for 16 races in 2012." The company "has the primary sponsorship rights for 20 total races on the No. 88 car, and Amp will serve as an associate sponsor while also appearing on the hood for the other four races." The shift is a "major downsizing in the sponsorship" between Amp and Earnhardt. Pepsi, which owns Amp and Mountain Dew, "has one year left on its contract with Earnhardt and Hendrick Motorsports, and the company’s executives believe that Diet Mountain Dew, which is one of the fastest-growing soft drinks, stands to benefit more from Earnhardt than Amp." Mountain Dew Brand Manager George Cox said, “Dale is the embodiment of the person we’re trying to target with Diet Dew. We wanted to tap into that equity Dew has in NASCAR and put it into overdrive with Dale.” Cox said that Pepsi "plans to focus on developing its marketing and activation plans for Diet Mountain Dew and won’t begin discussing a possible renewal with Hendrick until next year." Amp Energy signed a deal with Hendrick Motorsports and Earnhardt in '07 valued at $25-30M. Amp at the time "was the fifth-largest player in a fast-growing category," but the category’s growth "has stalled recently." The "shrinking number of new consumers made it difficult for Amp to justify the cost of the sponsorship." Mickle notes by "shifting the bulk of its marketing support of the driver from Amp to Diet Mountain Dew, Pepsi can save the Amp brand money and align Earnhardt with a brand he’s already passionate about" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/19 issue).
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