SBJ/January 9-15, 2017/Research and Ratings

Toyota’s big year makes an impression on fans

Toyota’s on-track success in NASCAR in 2016 paid dividends off the track, as the auto manufacturer scored the highest year-over-year improvement in brand recognition and its highest-ever recognition rate, according to the annual NASCAR sponsor loyalty survey conducted for SportsBusiness Journal/Daily by Turnkey Sports & Entertainment.

Toyota is one of three auto manufacturers in NASCAR, alongside Chevrolet and Ford. On the track last year, Toyota had its most successful year since it came into the sport, including winning the Daytona 500 and the premier series’ manufacturers’ championship. Japan-based Toyota, which has had its U.S. headquarters in California but will transfer to Plano, Texas, by this summer, has leveraged NASCAR marketing as a way to educate American consumers about the company’s considerable workforce and footprint in the U.S.

ADDITIONAL SURVEY RESULTS

In its first year as the sport’s official credit card, Credit One Bank came in with an overall 13 percent recognition rate among avid and casual fans. Scoring in double figures in a brand’s first year is typically seen as a good result. The company came in behind MasterCard (18.2 percent) and Visa (26.8 percent).

Allegiant Airline, named NASCAR’s first official passenger airline partner in March 2016, had a solid showing in its first sponsor loyalty survey. Between avid and casual NASCAR fans, a combined 16.5 percent correctly identified Allegiant’s status, the most of any airline. American Airlines had the next-highest rate.

In the final year of its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s premier series, wireless partner Sprint tied the lowest overall mark it ever achieved in the survey at 47.2 percent, which it previously earned in 2013.
The company has seen a steady increase in the automotive category’s recognition rate since 2007, when overall only 4.4 percent of respondents recognized the brand as a NASCAR sponsor. That mark had grown to 31.1 percent in 2015 and reached 36.8 percent in 2016. Chevrolet earned the most recognition of the three manufacturers at 38.8 percent and Ford saw recognition of 30 percent of all fans surveyed this year. Ford and Chevy’s involvement in NASCAR date back to when the sport started in the 1940s.

“Since entering NASCAR competition in 2004, we’ve seen our brand acceptance rise to the level or even exceed our competitors in the sport and it speaks to the opportunity NASCAR provides a brand like Toyota,” said Ed Laukes, vice president of integrated marketing operations for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

Toyota activated in NASCAR in 2016 with robust media packages on Fox Sports and NBC Sports, and heavy at-track marketing, including opening a branded entrance at Daytona International Speedway. Toyota has more than 160,000 square feet of space to use at the renovated speedway, and it took advantage by installing experiences such as an off-road driving course, an interactive technology zone, a model of the Space Shuttle Endeavor that a Toyota truck helped haul to its final resting place, and the largest Toyota sign in North America.

Toyota, which works with MKTG (formerly Team Epic) for its NASCAR marketing, released multiple creative spots throughout the year on TV and digital media, including humorous ads like one with Carl Edwards that plays off the driver’s penchant for doing backflips. It also grew its presence on social media with its Toyota Racing accounts. On Twitter, Toyota Racing had 102,000 followers as of press time, below — but closing in on — Chevy’s Twitter account for racing (134,000 followers) and Ford’s (161,000).

While Toyota had the highest year-over-year percentage gain, NASCAR’s official tire sponsor, Goodyear, had the highest recognition rate of any brand surveyed. Goodyear’s combined recognition rate in 2016 among avid and casual fans was 56.8 percent, off about 10 percentage points from last year’s mark and representing its lowest in the five years that the tire category has been tracked in the survey. Goodyear led all sponsors for the fifth year running.

METHODOLOGY

For this project, Turnkey Sports & Entertainment, through its Turnkey Intelligence operation, conducted national consumer research surveys among a sample of more than 400 members of the Toluna online panel who were at least 18 years old.

This year’s survey was conducted Nov. 18-Dec. 3. The 2014 and 2015 surveys were fielded during the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Respondents were screened and analyzed based on general avidity levels. Fans categorized as “avid” were ones who responded “4” or “5” to the question “How big a fan are you of NASCAR?” and then claimed to “look up news, scores and standings several times a week or more often,” “watch/listen/attend at least 21 races per season” and “have a favorite driver.” Fans categorized as “casual” responded “3” to the same initial question, then claimed to “look up news, scores and standings several times a month or more often,” “watch/listen/attend at least five races per season” and “have a favorite driver.”

When asked to identify official sponsors, respondents selected from a field of companies and brands that was provided to them for each business sector. The percentage responses listed have been rounded. The margin of error for each survey is +/- 4.9 percent.

Turnkey works with more than 70 retainer-based clients across the major professional leagues in North America, including several tracks, teams and brands involved in motorsports.

IMPACT ON SAMPLING AND SUPPORT

Are you more or less likely to consider trying a product/service if that product/service is an official sponsor of NASCAR?

  Avid Casual
  2016 2015 2014 2016 2015 2014
More likely 79% 72% 70% 63% 51% 49%
Unaffected / less likely 21% 28% 30% 37% 49% 51%

Are you more or less likely to consciously support a company by purchasing its products/services if the company is an official sponsor of NASCAR?

  Avid Casual
  2016 2015 2014 2016 2015 2014
More likely 81% 69% 75% 62% 55% 47%
Unaffected / less likely 19% 31% 25% 38% 45% 54%

Are you more or less likely to recommend a product/service to a friend or family member if that product/service is an official sponsor of NASCAR?

  Avid Casual
  2016 2015 2014 2016 2015 2014
More likely 76% 66% 73% 65% 48% 48%
Unaffected / less likely 24% 34% 28% 35% 52% 52%

 

SPONSORSHIP SIGNIFICANCE AND ASSESSMENT

Subject: How much more likely are fans to consider purchasing/using a NASCAR sponsor's product/service if they are aware of the relationship?
To read: 69 percent of NASCAR fans said they would be more likely to consider using NASCAR's official motor oil if they knew which brand had that designation. The rate increased to 77 percent when considering only those NASCAR fans who correctly knew that Mobil 1 is NASCAR's official motor oil.

CATEGORY (NASCAR SPONSOR) AMONG ALL NASCAR FANS AMONG NASCAR FANS WHO CORRECTLY IDENTIFIED THE SPONSOR DIFFERENCE
Motor oil (Mobil 1) 69% 77% +8 pct. points
Credit card (Credit One) 61% 69% +8 pct. points
Airline (Allegiant) 56% 64% +8 pct. points
Beer (Coors Light) 60% 64% +4 pct. points
Soft drink (Coca-Cola) 67% 68% +1 pct. points
Tire (Goodyear) 71% 68% -3 pct. points
Insurance (Nationwide) 58% 53% -5 pct. points
Wireless (Sprint) 58% 49% -9 pct. points
Fuel (Sunoco) 64% 53% -11 pct. points

Subject: What brands do fans think should be NASCAR sponsors?
To read: 60 percent of NASCAR fans said they think Goodyear should be a NASCAR sponsor, compared with 24 percent who think Bridgestone should have a NASCAR deal. Those numbers became 77 percent and 18 percent, respectively, when considering only those NASCAR fans who correctly knew that Goodyear is NASCAR's official tire.

  AMONG ALL NASCAR FANS AMONG NASCAR FANS WHO CORRECTLY IDENTIFIED THE SPONSOR
NASCAR SPONSOR/COMPETITOR RESPONSE RATES DIFFERENCE RESPONSE RATES DIFFERENCE
Goodyear / Bridgestone 60% / 24% +36 pct. points 77% / 18% +59 pct. points
Coca-Cola / Pepsi 66% / 34% +32 pct. points 81% / 30% +51 pct. points
Mobil 1 / Castrol Edge 39% / 16% +23 pct. points 62% / 15% +47 pct. points
Nationwide / State Farm 32% / 31% +1 pct. points 46% / 29% +17 pct. points
Sprint / AT&T 32% / 35% -3 pct. points 48% / 31% +17 pct. points
Allegiant / Frontier 7% / 5% +2 pct. points 23% / 6% +17 pct. points
Sunoco / Shell 21% / 28% -7 pct. points 38% / 24% +14 pct. points
Coors Light / Bud Light 26% / 39% -13 pct. points 44% / 35% +9 pct. points
Credit One / MasterCard 11% / 36% -25 pct. points 27% / 31% -4 pct. points

Notes: Fans could select both the official sponsor and the competitor if they chose to do so. The one specific competing company listed was selected by Turnkey for consideration in the survey file.

 

Which of the following is an official sponsor of the NASCAR?

  Avid Casual
INSURANCE
  2016 2015 2014 2016 2015 2014
Nationwide* 42.0% 46.3% 43.5% 30.0% 30.3% 32.8%
Geico 9.5% 11.4% 7.0% 9.0% 11.9% 16.4%
Allstate 11.5% 6.0% 9.0% 7.0% 7.0% 4.0%
State Farm 6.5% 6.5% 6.5% 11.0% 4.5% 6.0%
Liberty Mutual 6.5% 2.5% 3.5% 4.5% 2.5% 1.5%
I’m not sure 14.0% 15.9% 18.0% 30.0% 34.3% 33.8%
During Fox’s Daytona 500 broadcast, Nationwide debuted two commercials for brand ambassador Dale Earnhardt Jr. The company has been a Hendrick Motorsports primary partner since 2014 and was on the No. 88 Chevrolet for 21 races in 2016. In August, Liberty Mutual unveiled a new sponsorship of the spotter stands at select tracks called Spotter Coverage, and in November the insurer announced a sponsorship for the Roush Fenway No. 6 Ford driven by Trevor Bayne for the 2017 season. Also, Ty Dillon signed on as the full-time driver of the No. 13 Geico Chevrolet for Germain Racing in 2017.
  Avid Casual
CREDIT CARD
  2016 2015 2014 2016 2015 2014
Visa 24.0% 34.8% 33.0% 29.5% 33.8% 30.3%
MasterCard 19.5% 13.9% 13.0% 17.0% 11.9% 11.9%
Credit One* 15.5% NA NA 10.5% NA NA
American Express 10.0% 10.9% 8.0% 9.0% 7.5% 8.5%
Discover 8.5% 6.0% 6.5% 6.0% 4.0% 4.5%
I’m not sure 22.5% 31.3% 35.5% 28.0% 41.8% 43.8%
In February, Credit One Bank signed on as NASCAR’s new official credit card and a primary sponsor of Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 1 Chevrolet driven by Jamie McMurray. As part of the deal, an affinity card with NASCAR marks and logos was launched, as well as national ads and at-track activations. At the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, as part of the “NASCAR: An American Salute” campaign, Credit One Bank featured the U.S.VETS logo on McMurray’s car, and matched online donations, up to $15,000, to U.S.VETS made throughout the weekend.
  Avid Casual
SOFT DRINK
  2016 2015 2014 2016 2015 2014
Coca-Cola* 59.5% 61.2% 54.5% 50.0% 48.3% 37.3%
Mountain Dew 8.5% 9.0% 11.5% 11.5% 13.4% 14.4%
Pepsi 10.5% 12.4% 12.0% 7.5% 13.4% 12.9%
I’m not sure 10.5% 9.5% 13.0% 15.0% 18.9% 31.3%
In January, Coca-Cola and Team Penske agreed to a multiyear extension of their sponsorship deal that began in 2011. The soft drink brand’s logo will continue to appear on Joey Logano’s No. 22 Ford Fusion. For his final Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, Coca-Cola racing family driver Tony Stewart drove a special Coca-Cola paint scheme that replicated the one driven by Bobby Allison for his 1971 and 1972 Southern 500 victories.
  Avid Casual
AUTOMOBILE
  2016 2015 2014 2016 2015 2014
Chevrolet* 39.0% 43.8% 44.5% 38.5% 29.9% 28.4%
Toyota* 46.5% 41.8% 33.0% 27.0% 20.4% 18.4%
Ford* 32.0% 30.8% 36.5% 28.0% 30.3% 24.4%
Dodge 15.0% 13.4% 16.5% 13.5% 12.9% 10.0%
I’m not sure 15.0% 17.4% 26.0% 22.0% 38.3% 39.8%
For the automobile category, which has Chevrolet, Toyota and Ford all as official NASCAR sponsors, respondents in the survey could choose multiple responses. All three manufacturers ran Chase-specific content and sweepstakes this season. 2016 was a banner season for Toyota as the automaker won its first Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship and its first Daytona 500. Toyota also won the Xfinity and Truck Series Manufacturers’ Championships. Jimmie Johnson drove the No. 48 Chevrolet to his record-tying seventh Sprint Cup title. Ford has been the official title sponsor of the season-finale events in South Florida since 2002.
  Avid Casual
MOTOR OIL
  2016 2015 2014 2016 2015 2014
Mobil (Mobil 1)* 38.5% 36.8% 36.0% 38.5% 35.3% 28.4%
Pennzoil (Pennzoil Ultra) 15.0% 15.4% 12.0% 14.5% 19.9% 18.9%
Valvoline 10.0% 9.5% 11.0% 9.5% 9.5% 13.4%
Quaker State 8.5% 4.5% 6.0% 7.0% 5.0% 5.0%
I’m not sure 11.5% 15.9% 20.5% 16.5% 21.9% 25.9%
Mobil 1, an official partner of NASCAR since 2003 and a Stewart-Haas Racing sponsor since 2011, re-upped with SHR in a multiyear deal earlier this season. In March, Mobil 1 launched a digital video series, Tony’s Next Chapter, with four 30-second creatives showing Tony Stewart exploring hobbies to try following his retirement. Prior to the start of the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, 30,000 Tony Stewart bobbleheads wearing a red, white and blue Mobil 1 firesuit were handed out to fans.
  Avid Casual
BEER
  2016 2015 2014 2016 2015 2014
Coors Light* 29.0% 25.9% 23.5% 30.5% 31.8% 23.4%
Anheuser-Busch InBev 30.0% 32.8% 35.0% 29.0% 32.3% 34.8%
Miller Lite 11.5% 10.4% 11.0% 6.5% 9.5% 9.5%
I’m not sure 14.0% 14.9% 13.5% 18.5% 18.9% 25.4%
Coors Light, NASCAR’s official beer sponsor since 2008, scored its second-best showing ever in our survey, trailing only its 2013 marks. The Coors Light Pole Award is presented to the fastest eligible qualifier in each Sprint Cup Series race. Anheuser-Busch mixed things up in 2016 by switching its marketing efforts from Budweiser to its Busch beer brand. Busch first entered the sport in 1979 and was title sponsor of NASCAR’s secondary series from 1984 through 2007.
  Avid Casual
FUEL
  2016 2015 2014 2016 2015 2014
Sunoco* 44.5% 52.2% NA 32.0% 33.3% NA
Exxon 12.0% 11.4% NA 15.5% 9.5% NA
Shell 10.0% 9.0% NA 13.0% 10.0% NA
Chevron 13.5% 9.0% NA 7.5% 12.9% NA
I’m not sure 10.5% 8.5% NA 19.5% 28.4% NA
The 2016 version of Sunoco’s Essence of Racing marketing campaign featured three new black-and-white ads, one each for NASCAR, IndyCar and the NHRA. The NASCAR ad first aired during the Sprint All-Star Race and featured Jimmie Johnson. Sunoco, the official fuel of NASCAR since 2004, is a founding partner of the Daytona Rising project and naming-rights sponsor to one of the new injector entrances at Daytona International Speedway.
  Avid Casual
WIRELESS
  2016 2015 2014 2016 2015 2014
Sprint* 53.0% 59.7% 52.0% 41.5% 51.7% 40.5%
AT&T 13.0% 10.0% 13.5% 12.0% 8.0% 10.5%
T-Mobile 12.5% 5.0% 5.0% 9.5% 8.5% 8.0%
Verizon 9.5% 10.9% 10.0% 12.0% 9.0% 10.0%
I’m not sure 9.5% 9.5% 11.0% 19.5% 20.4% 27.5%
2016 marked Sprint’s final season as title sponsor of NASCAR’s top series. NASCAR signed a 10-year title sponsorship with Nextel beginning with the 2004 season, and a merger between Nextel and Sprint renamed the series the NASCAR Sprint Cup for the 2008 season. The wireless carrier was title sponsor of each season’s first non-points race, the Sprint Unlimited, and the Sprint All-Star Race.
  Avid Casual
TIRES
  2016 2015 2014 2016 2015 2014
Goodyear* 62.5% 72.1% 64.5% 51.0% 61.2% 58.7%
Firestone 6.5% 7.5% 6.5% 13.5% 11.9% 6.5%
Bridgestone 12.0% 4.0% 12.0% 6.0% 6.0% 7.0%
I’m not sure 7.0% 6.0% 8.0% 15.0% 14.9% 21.4%
For the fifth consecutive year, Goodyear, NASCAR’s official tire since 1997, scored the highest recognition scores of any sponsor in our survey. In February, Goodyear debuted a series of broadcast, digital and print ads featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s most popular driver for 14 straight years.
  Avid Casual
CHOCOLATE
  2016 2015 2014 2016 2015 2014
M&M’s* 47.5% NA NA 46.0% NA NA
Cadbury 2.5% NA NA 2.0% NA NA
Snickers 15.5% NA NA 12.0% NA NA
Kit Kat 8.0% NA NA 5.5% NA NA
Reese’s 6.0% NA NA 4.5% NA NA
Toblerone 2.5% NA NA 5.0% NA NA
I’m not sure 18.0% NA NA 25.0% NA NA
In September, Mars announced an extension of its marketing partnership with NASCAR to keep M&M’s as the official chocolate through 2019, a designation it has held since 2000. The Mars brand also is primary sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota driven by Kyle Busch. This year, Mars celebrated its 75th anniversary with a seasonlong activation called #MMs75 where on the 75th lap of races fans were to post their favorite memories of M&M’s or M&M’s racing on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for a chance to win M&M’s Racing gear.
  Avid Casual
AIRLINE
  2016 2015 2014 2016 2015 2014
Allegiant* 12.0% NA NA 21.0% NA NA
American 17.5% NA NA 13.5% NA NA
Southwest 13.0% NA NA 10.5% NA NA
United 8.5% NA NA 5.0% NA NA
I’m not sure 34.0% NA NA 38.0% NA NA
In March, Allegiant Air was named NASCAR’s first official passenger airline in a multiyear agreement. The airline has flights to 21 NASCAR race markets, including the sites of all of NASCAR’s West Coast races. Allegiant also is presenting sponsor of NASCAR Goes West on NASCAR.com. Fans could enter the Race to Win NASCAR Racing Experience sweepstakes on the company’s website to win one of four grand prizes of a trip for four to a NASCAR race at Daytona, Phoenix, Las Vegas or Los Angeles.

* Official NASCAR sponsor
NA — Not available; this category was not asked about in the annual survey prior to this year.


10-YEAR LEADERBOARD: WHO'S BEING RECOGNIZED?

On behalf of SportsBusiness Journal, Turnkey Sports & Entertainment has polled NASCAR fans for the past decade to ask which companies hold the league's official sponsorship rights in select categories. As the sport's roster has changed, so have the categories we've tracked. For example, for several years we monitored the bank, shipping, hotel, quick-service restaurant and sports drink categories. We no longer watch those but have added tire, fuel, insurance, candy and motor oil. The official airline was added back into the fold this year after being tracked from 2007-11.
Here are the results of the six categories that we've tracked continuously since at least 2009 — showing the marks for the brands that hold (or have held) official sponsorship rights with NASCAR, and the results for some of their prime competitors.
Response rates indicate the percentage of people polled who thought the particular company or brand was NASCAR's official sponsor in that category.

SODA 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Coca-Cola (1998-present) 45.1% 55.1% 54.2% 46.2% 43.9% 53.4% 48.8% 45.9% 54.8% 54.8%
Mountain Dew 6.3% 8.3% 6.9% 5.4% 8.6% 9.3% 13.3% 13.0% 11.2% 10.0%
Pepsi 29.8% 19.0% 18.3% 16.5% 23.3% 14.3% 14.8% 12.5% 12.9% 9.0%
AUTOMOTIVE 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Chevrolet (2003-present) 48.0% 30.4% 26.6% 30.6% 26.5% 40.1% 37.0% 36.5% 36.9% 38.8%
Toyota (2003-present) 4.4% 15.9% 17.0% 8.1% 12.4% 27.1% 32.3% 25.7% 31.1% 36.8%
Ford (1998-present) 14.5% 22.2% 24.4% 14.6% 23.0% 31.1% 31.5% 30.5% 30.6% 30.0%
Dodge (2001-2012) 8.7% 13.3% 15.9% 5.4% 5.4% 22.8% 15.3% 13.3% 13.2% 14.3%
BEER 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Coors Light (2008-present) 6.8% 16.9% 24.1% 21.8% 21.5% 25.8% 33.3% 23.5% 28.9% 29.8%
Budweiser (1988-2007) 70.8% 47.9% 51.0% 36.0% 37.7% 39.1% 32.0% 34.9% 32.6% 29.5%
Miller 7.2% 16.2% 8.1% 11.6% 13.9% 10.3% 10.3% 10.3% 10.0% 9.0%
WIRELESS 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Sprint (2004-2016) 67.2% 62.6% 54.9% 53.8% 47.9% 47.3% 48.2% 55.7% 47.3%
AT&T 8.8% 10.8% 8.6% 8.1% 11.5% 10.8% 12.0% 9.0% 12.5%
Verizon Wireless 8.1% 6.4% 8.4% 11.9% 12.8% 10.5% 8.8% 10.0% 10.8%
INSURANCE 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Nationwide (2008-present) 18.9% 18.5% 23.8% 41.6% 41.8% 38.2% 38.3% 36.0%
Geico 13.2% 11.9% 17.2% 10.3% 6.8% 11.7% 11.7% 9.3%
Allstate 11.0% 8.4% 14.6% 8.0% 9.5% 6.5% 6.5% 9.3%
Aflac (May 2007-2010) 26.2% 19.2% 12.4% 4.0% 6.8% 3.0% 4.0% 1.8%

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