SBD/February 29, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Tide Gains Exposure During Daytona 500 Sans NASCAR Sponsorship

Crews used the powdered detergent to clean jet fuel leaked by the damaged dryer
NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya’s crash into a truck hauling a jet dryer during the Daytona 500 on Sunday “ended up giving Tide huge sums of money in free advertising,” according to Kristi Dosh of ESPN.com. Crews used the powdered detergent “to clean jet fuel leaked by the damaged dryer, giving the brand exposure for at least a half hour on national television.” Tide got the free advertising “without being a NASCAR sponsor.” NASCAR said that Tide is “not an official partner, and officials are not aware of any sponsorships with drivers, either, although parent company Procter & Gamble is involved with the sport.” While the Twitterverse was “abuzz with Tide mentions, the @Tide account remained silent, with its last tweet from the account coming hours [before] the race began.” Dosh noted, “To be fair, the account describes itself as being monitored by a ‘Tide expert on clean,’ who will help with stain removal tips, not company marketing.” Wasserman Media Senior VP/Properties & Media Tag Garson said that “all should not be lost for the company.” Garson: “You could very quickly turn this around and put newspaper ads together that are very creative” (ESPN.com, 2/28). USA TODAY’s Chad Leistikow notes the exposure could mean a “marketing windfall" for Tide, which "hasn’t been active in NASCAR’s premier series since the mid-2000s, though Darrell Waltrip and Ricky Rudd once helped make the ‘Tide Ride’ famous.” Ernest Industries Sports Marketing consultant Ernest Lupinacci said, “It was a two-hour product demo. The upside could be gigantic" (USA TODAY, 2/29). ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said, “Long after I forget Matt Kenseth’s name, I’m going to remember that explosion, that fireball and the odd fact that they cleaned it up with Tide afterwards” (“PTI,” ESPN, 2/28). Tide on its Twitter feed now is making a contest out of the exposure. Yesterday it posted a picture from the incident with the text, "Let’s hear your best captions for this picture from Tide’s cleanup at #Daytona. We’ll pin our favorite!" (THE DAILY).

CLEANUP ON TURN 3: In Memphis, Kyle Veazey notes the truck Montoya rear-ended “bore the turquoise-and-yellow logo of ServiceMaster Clean, a division of Memphis-based ServiceMaster Company.” ServiceMaster CMO Jim Wassell said, “I was pinching myself. We didn’t hit anything, We were hit. We didn’t cause the accident. We were just the beneficiaries of a lot of air time on our brand.” The company had “10 or 15 minutes of the logo on Fox’s national broadcast” and around “1,000 or so media mentions by 8 a.m.” Veazey notes ServiceMaster in ’09 began a “sponsorship of the entire caution period” with NASCAR that runs through ’13 and “includes such branding at 21 of the tracks that host races” on the Sprint Cup Series (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 2/29).
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