SBJ/March 19-25, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Coke and History team up for Charlotte races

Coca-Cola and History Channel are combining forces to raise their respective brands’ profiles ahead of their big NASCAR race weekend in Charlotte this May.

The title sponsors of the History 300 and Coca-Cola 600 races have partnered on a sweepstakes that will give a fan a chance to win a trip for two to Charlotte Motor Speedway to watch the History 300 Nationwide Series race on May 26 with the cast of the channel’s show “Pawn Stars,” meet a Coca-Cola driver and receive tickets to the Coca-Cola 600 Sprint Cup Series race on May 27.

Coca-Cola is highlighting the promotion on packaging and at retail in more than 300 WilcoHess stores in the Southeast, and History Channel is promoting it online and on air. As a result, Coca-Cola is sharing its presence at retail with History, and History is sharing its presence in people’s homes with Coke.

“There are two ways to approach a partnership,” said Chris Meador, History’s vice president of marketing. “The easy way is to barter X for Y, or you can create an idea and say, ‘Let’s market an idea on both our platforms.’ That’s what we did with Coke.”

Charlotte Motor Speedway helped broker the partnership between History and Coke.

The promotion was developed after History agreed to sign another one-year agreement to title sponsor Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Nationwide race in May. It will be the second year the company has sponsored the race. It is believed to be spending slightly more than $1 million on the sponsorship.

Meador said that History re-signed with Charlotte Motor Speedway because it credited its race sponsorship last year with helping increase viewership of its show “Top Gear” in 2011. The show averaged 1.9 million viewers last year and saw a 24 percent increase in viewers in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic.

History decided to shift from naming the race after a single show, as it did last year with the Top Gear 300, to using its channel name because it wants to use the race to promote multiple shows such as “Pawn Stars” and “American Restoration.”

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