SBJ/October 16 - 22, 2006/This Weeks News

Just Marketing to aid sponsor hunt

Just Marketing International and Simmons Abramson Marketing are combining forces to aid the IndyCar Series’ quest for sponsors, including selling title sponsorship to the series.

Rick Abramson (left), Zak Brown (center) and
Gene Simmons will team up to bring sponsors
to the IndyCar Series.
IndyCar hired Simmons Abramson in January to lead its marketing, licensing, business development and promotion, including the move away from the name Indy Racing League to the IndyCar Series. Just Marketing has agreed to partner with Simmons Abramson on its IndyCar initiatives, but Just Marketing will not directly represent IndyCar.

Essentially, Simmons Abramson, which had limited previous motorsports experience, will continue to generate leads for new sponsors and Just Marketing will help close the deal and create marketing programs.

Simmons Abramson is paid by IndyCar, while Just Marketing will be paid by the brand.

“The simple idea is bringing in corporate attention and corporate dollars, but the bigger idea is to convince the world that Indy racing is the finest in the world,” said Gene Simmons, of KISS fame, who is a managing partner of the firm with Richard Abramson. “I come into a room and get all of the attention and everybody runs to me like I’m the biggest picnic in the park. But what people see is the passion I have for Indy racing.”

The IndyCar Series has not had a title sponsor since 2001 when it was the Indy Racing Northern Light Series, but Zak Brown, president and CEO of Just Marketing, thinks IndyCar is prime to rebound.

“To put things in Wall Street terms, stocks can get damaged, but then as the company rebuilds, stock goes up,” said Brown, whose company’s clients include Subway, Brut, Johnnie Walker and Crown Royal. “Things with IndyCar are going up in value, but the stock is not reflecting that. Gene is getting the noise out there and we’re coming in as the analyst to help people understand how to drive value from the series.”

Just Marketing represents sponsors in several different forms of racing and it recently opened a NASCAR-oriented office in Charlotte. Brown emphasized that the deal with Simmons Abramson will not prioritize one series over another in his office.

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