SBJ/20090126/This Week's News

M&M’s sweetens promotion around NASCAR fans

M&M’s will be monitoring two races this season — the one involving its driver Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota, and the one to identify NASCAR’s most colorful fan.

The Mars brand will kick off its second “Most Colorful Fan of NASCAR” promotion Feb. 15, the day of the Daytona 500, but the 2009 version will have many more tentacles, including a presence on NASCAR.com and social-networking sites. The campaign will run 28 weeks, 10 weeks longer than last year’s version.

The brand will kick off its “Most Colorful
Fan of NASCAR” promotion Feb. 15.

“We’re trying to go where the fans are, play where the people play,” said Ryan Bowling, Mars’ manager of public relations and marketing. “Instead of trying to drive people to a racing site, we’re going where they are every day, like Facebook and Twitter.”

The promotion’s home will be on NASCAR.com, where a link will take fans to the contest. There, they’ll be able to upload race-related photos of themselves and viewers will vote each week for the most colorful fan. The weekly winners will enter a playoff, where the ultimate most colorful fan will be crowned. Mars is tinkering with the idea of creating its own Chase from that playoff model.

M&M’s also will use behind-the-scenes video of Busch and crew chief Steve Addington on Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as YouTube.

At the race venues, Mars will send M&M’s ambassadors — most likely employees from its agency, Weber Shandwick — to engage fans and bring the M&M’s program to life, Bowling said.

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