SBJ/August 29-September 4, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

NASCAR, tracks appeal to Hispanics

NASCAR this week will roll out its first multiplatform Hispanic marketing initiative, built around the tag line “Bienvenidos a NASCAR.”

The program will include Spanish-language television and radio advertisements, signage at track, virtual garage tours, Spanish-speaking brand ambassadors at races, and a concert series featuring artists who appeal to Hispanic consumers. The initiative will take place across the Chicago, Phoenix and Miami markets before the races those tracks will host Sept. 18, Nov. 13 and Nov. 20, respectively.

The effort follows a nearly yearlong study of NASCAR’s fan base that saw the sanctioning body identify the Hispanic community as an area from which it needs to attract more fans. NASCAR now says that its multicultural audience is 20 percent of its total audience, which is pegged at 75 million. About half of that multicultural audience is Hispanic, which would equal 7.5 million fans.

NASCAR officials hope that the combination of Spanish-language advertising, brand ambassadors and signage at-track increases awareness of the sport among Hispanics and results in increased ticket purchases and long-term interest in the sport.

“This is not our first effort in the space, but it is a significant one,” said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR vice president of public affairs and multicultural development. “Over the next five years, we want to index more closely to the Hispanic share of the U.S. population [which is 16.3 percent]. We know that’s not going to happen overnight.”

The efforts expand on previous Hispanic marketing initiatives undertaken across the sport. In the past, individual tracks such as Homestead-Miami and Phoenix International Raceway have offered special Juan Pablo Montoya ticket promotions designed to appeal to the Hispanic community, and NASCAR has brought drivers in from its Mexican series, the NASCAR Corona Series, to make
Felix Sabates (top) and Juan Pablo Montoya talk NASCAR in new spots aimed at Hispanics.
appearances at races in the U.S. But this is the first time the tracks and sanctioning body have partnered on a joint campaign.

NASCAR hired the Houston-based Hispanic marketing agency Tippit & Moo to assist with developing the “Bienvenidos a NASCAR” campaign. The first TV spots, which were filmed by NASCAR Media Group, debut in Chicago this week on Univision. They show team investor Felix Sabates, drivers Aric Almirola, Miguel Paludo and Montoya, and a fan with his two daughters talking about the spectacle of races, the ability to bring family, and the speed, energy and emotion of a race.

Each spot concludes with customized ticket information for the races in Chicago, Phoenix and Miami. NASCAR covered the cost of the commercials and is sharing the costs of advertising time with the tracks.

The TV and radio spots will begin running in the Chicago, Phoenix and Miami markets three weeks before races. In the days ahead of the race, NASCAR and the tracks plan to send simulators, haulers and show cars to Hispanic festivals like Fiesta Patrias in Chicago (Sept. 11) and Dia de la Raza in Phoenix (Oct. 15).

Fans who attend the races will see wall signage at each track that says “Bienvenidos a NASCAR.” There also will be bilingual brand ambassadors available who will pass out a bilingual fact sheet on the sport and answer questions. Both Phoenix and Miami plan to offer concerts with artists who appeal to Hispanics, as well.

“This isn’t just about a ticket offer,” said Chicagoland Speedway President Scott Paddock. “This is about creating a destination so that when the Hispanic market comes out and checks out the race they have a good experience. That’s why we’re investing in a bilingual information booth and offering Hispanic food and beverages. This is a long-term investment, and it’s important to us as an industry.”

“Those at-event touchpoints are a key component of this program,” Jadotte said. “We want to not only lay out a broad invitation to the Hispanic community but create an at-track experience that is both culturally relevant and welcoming and provides an introduction to the sport.”

Jadotte described this year’s Hispanic marketing initiative as a test and said NASCAR will look to roll out similar efforts next year in key markets with large Hispanic populations, such as Texas, California, Las Vegas and Charlotte.

“This program isn’t designed to be a one-time fix,” Jadotte said. “It’s a long-term commitment, and one we’ll begin this fall.”

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