SBJ/November 14-20, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Ganassi Racing secures sponsor

Chip Ganassi Racing has secured the support necessary to keep its four Izod IndyCar Series teams running in 2012, signing health care company Novo Nordisk to a full primary sponsorship of the team’s No. 83 car.

The multiyear agreement extends Novo Nordisk’s relationship with Ganassi and driver Charlie Kimball. Specific terms of the agreement weren’t available, but full-season IndyCar sponsorships are typically worth $4 million to $6 million annually.

Novo Nordisk signed a one-year agreement with Kimball, a diabetic, for this year’s IndyCar season and used him to promote its line of prefilled insulin products, Levemir and NovoLog. The Danish company supported its sponsorship of Kimball by activating at track, advertising during IndyCar race broadcasts on Versus and buying in-car camera time during ABC race broadcasts.

Ambre Morley, Novo Nordisk’s associate
Novo Nordisk will return as a full primary sponsor of the No. 83 car driven by Charlie Kimball.
Photos by: GETTY IMAGES
director of product communications, said the collective efforts were “immensely successful” in raising awareness about the company’s products.

“In the diabetes community, Charlie developed a fan base that went beyond our expectations,” Morley said. “It was his first year, and he was just getting started, but we’re glad to be a part of something we think can be really big.”

Novo Nordisk developed two programs to raise awareness about diabetes.

The “Drive The Switch” program encouraged people who took insulin or knew someone who took insulin to take a pledge that they would talk to their doctor about prefilled insulin options. The company took a show car to nine IndyCar races in 2011 and collected 11,000 signatures from race attendees who took the pledge. It also created a stand-alone website where people could make a similar pledge.

The “Race With Insulin” campaign used Twitter and a blog run by Kimball to raise awareness about the company’s products.

“It’s not just Charlie on the track,” Morley said. “It’s not just Charlie off the track. It’s him telling his story. He’s doing something no other racer is doing, and that’s racing with diabetes.”

Morley said Novo Nordisk is evaluating how it will activate in 2012. She said it most likely will continue to activate at track with its “Drive The Switch” program, but she was unsure whether it would support that effort with TV advertising.

Ganassi Racing added two cars this season, and Novo Nordisk was the only deal up for renewal. Its decision to return alongside Service Central and Target, which sponsors two cars, ensures the team will field four cars again in 2012.

“There’s stability in our organization now with the four cars,” said Steve Lauletta, president of Chip Ganassi Racing. “We stepped out there with two new entries this season, and partners like Novo Nordisk want to continue to grow with us.”

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