SBD/May 10, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Danica Patrick Signs Mulityear Deal With Coca-Cola, Will Promote Coke Zero Brand

Patrick is the first driver associated with a sole brand in Coca-Cola Racing's history
Coke Zero today will announce a new sponsorship deal with Danica Patrick that “will take her into an arena that has remained relatively untapped by the popular NASCAR driver,” according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. Patrick will sign a multiyear deal to join the Coca-Cola Racing Family, becoming the "first driver affiliated with a sole brand in the program’s 14-year history.” The move aligns Patrick “with a brand that easily becomes the most iconic and mainstream in her portfolio.” Patrick has been featured “heavily in national commercial campaigns” for sponsors like GoDaddy.com and Peak Performance automotive products, but those brands "don’t have the retail reach" of Coca-Cola. IMG Senior VP/Business Innovation Mark Dyer said that demand for "point-of-purchase promotional material featuring Patrick was strong from stores that stocked Coke.” Dyer: “It’s the first time Danica will go to retail with a strong consumer product.” Univ. of Southern California Sports Business Institute Exec Dir David Carter said that while the move “won’t have a noticeable effect on the track … she could be in line for an even bigger boost in name recognition.” The deal could be viewed as a "competitive marketing coup for Coke, too.” The company adds Patrick to an endorsement lineup that already includes driver Tony Stewart. Patrick said that Coke Zero was “planning commercials with her creative input." Coca-Cola will donate "to her charities every time she drinks a Coke on TV” (USA TODAY, 5/10). ESPN.com's David Newton notes one of Patrick's first promo appearances will be at the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend "to promote the adventure movie 'Battleship' with one of the movie's stars, Brooklyn Decker." In addition to deals with GoDaddy.com and Peak Performance, Patrick also has endorsement deals with Nationwide Insurance, Tissot, Chevrolet, William Rast clothing and Hot Wheels (ESPN.com, 5/10).

A GOOD FIT: Patrick said the partnership is a “win-win from both fronts hopefully." Patrick: "I’m very honored to be with Coca-Cola and in specific, Coke Zero. Their saying is ‘Have It All,’ and I believe that too. I feel like I really am having it all. ... I feel very flattered and I appreciate all the help that Tony Stewart had in putting it together because he’s been a Coke guy for a long time. As I heard from a lot of people, this is a relationship that goes on for a long time” ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 5/10). 
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