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Tylenol builds racing ‘team’ for new launch
Published March 7, 2005
Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol brand is backing the launch of its Extra Strength Rapid Release Gels line extension with an eight-figure investment that includes endorsement deals from seven of NASCAR’s top drivers, season-long advertising buys on race broadcasts on NBC and Fox, and sponsorship of 11 tracks — all supporting a NASCAR team that doesn’t exist.
Team Tylenol, the marketing platform developed for the launch, has no cars and no drivers. Nonetheless, some of the Nextel Cup Series’ top performers — Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Jarrett, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Elliott Sadler — are featured in the creative, awestruck at the speed and efficiency of the new “team.”
Gordon will appear on millions of Rapid Release Gels packages, as will Earnhardt.
While Team Tylenol is somewhat akin to other NASCAR marketing programs that aggregate drivers, such as the Coca-Cola Racing Family or Gillette’s “Young Guns,” what distinguishes Team Tylenol is that it was built without a pricey car sponsorship or an official league designation.
That was necessitated by the fact that rival Goody’s Headache Powder is NASCAR’s official analgesic and, having signed in 1977, the sport’s oldest non-endemic sponsor. But now, Tylenol is renting NASCAR’s brand equity to add the attribute of speed to its own brand.
The seven drivers aggregated by Tylenol represent 146 Nextel Cup wins, six Cup championships and seven Daytona 500 victories. Fans may find themselves seeking out the Team Tylenol cars, given the exposure planned through deals with 11 tracks (six owned by International Speedway Corp., four by Speedway Motorsports Inc. and one by Dover Motorsports Inc.) that will generate presence marketing at about 20 races.
Starting at Bristol Motor Speedway next month, dozens of Tylenol “crew members” will be wearing team uniforms, driving branded golf carts and distributing coupons, pictures, lanyards and possibly samples. Haulers that NASCAR fans are accustomed to seeing carrying stock cars will instead be at race venues carrying the Team Tylenol brand.
Retail activation for what is easily Tylenol’s biggest sports marketing expenditure includes point-of-sale ads, while images of Earnhardt and Gordon will appear on millions of Rapid Release Gels packages during the third quarter, a first for the category. Additional consumer promos are being planned.
The Team Tylenol platform was developed collaboratively by SFGT, a branding and communications firm based in Philadelphia, and Millsport’s Charlotte motorsports unit. Millsport Motorsports’ other NASCAR clients include Office Depot, Waste Management, XM Satellite Radio, Yum Brands and Frito-Lay.