SBD/February 17, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Wheels & Deals: Sponsors Watching Kurt Busch's Behavior This Season

Sponsors will closely watch how Busch acts before putting money behind him this year
USA TODAY’s Nate Ryan in a sports section cover story reports results “might not factor heavily into the rehabilitation” of Kurt Busch’s image in corporate America, which “views its drivers as well-groomed spokespeople as much as athletes.” Team Owner Richard Petty said that his team “looked at hiring Busch during the offseason but couldn’t find sponsors that wanted to align with him.” GMR Marketing VP/Business Development Jimmy Bruns said, “His off-track performance is going to be as important or more important than his on-track performance. Before a sponsor puts dollars behind him, they’re going to see how he reacts this year.” Busch will drive for Phoenix Racing this season and team GM Steve Barkdoll, who oversees the team’s PR and marketing, said that a “few major companies had inquired about the chance to back a star at a discounted rate compared to one with a major team” (USA TODAY, 2/17).

EXPAND YOUR VOCABULARY: In Florida, Mark DeCotis notes NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, who unapologetically has used her gender and attractiveness to sell her brand in racy commercials, took a shot at people who use the term sexy to describe attractive woman athletes.” Patrick said, “It’s like if there’s a pretty girl, it’s like they don’t know how to describe a pretty girl other than being sexy. It has such a negative connotation to it. You don’t say those kinds of things or frame it like that for a guy or even sometimes talk about it.” She added, “It seems like with female athletes, if they’re pretty, they only know how to describe them in a sexual way. I don’t care, but I just wonder why we can’t talk about it in a different way. Why can’t there be other words for it? Why does it have to be somewhat negatively twisted? Something without the word sex in it” (FLORIDA TODAY, 2/17).

NOTES: Ford is launching a multi-tiered marketing campaign focused on its production car engine EcoBoost beginning with next weekend’s Daytona 500. EcoBoost will serve as the primary paint scheme for Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s Sprint Cup debut in the No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford. EcoBoost will also be featured for select races on the No. 17 Ford of Matt Kenseth throughout the ‘12 Sprint Cup campaign (Ford)....Zest bar soap and body wash will serve as the primary sponsor for Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 17 Sprint Cup series car driven by Matt Kenseth for four races this season (RFR)….Federated Auto Parts will sponsor the FAS Lane Racing Sprint Cup entry driven by Ken Schrader in nine races and will serve as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the season (THE DAILY).
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