Sports Marketing Symposium: NASCAR Boosts Nationwide's Brand Recognition
In an afternoon “In the Spotlight” segment, Nationwide Insurance Senior VP/Brand Marketing Jennifer Hanley and Engauge Chief Creative Officer Adam Albrecht of discussed Nationwide’s integrated marketing campaign for its NASCAR sponsorship, which revolved around drivers Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The campaign, which was launched last year, featured TV commercials starring Patrick and Earnhardt, with accompanying codes distributed through direct mail, online, at the track and through social media. The codes directed users to micro websites where fans could learn more about the two drivers and watch behind-the-scenes videos from NASCAR. “The results of awareness of Nationwide went through the roof,” Albrecht said. “For anybody who saw eight or more of our ad units, 50 percent of people visited the website.” Hanley said that in '11 the group distributed 500 different codes and saw 3.2 million users enter the website, where they spent an average of 40 minutes. In '12, they upped it to 700 codes, 2.7 million users and 58 minutes.
In one of the commercials that began airing in July, Earnhardt briefly flashes Patrick’s supposed cell phone number onto the screen. Fans who called the number reached a recording of Patrick promoting Nationwide, and asking for examples of how she could have her revenge on Earnhardt for the prank. Hanley said the number received 54,000 calls and 18,000 voice messages. The group then filmed Patrick calling back a select number of stunned people and put the video onto the website. In the phone conversations, fans expressed their shock and disbelief that the NASCAR star was actually calling them. "People loved the engagement," Albrecht said. The discussion ended with a video of Patrick addressing the SBJ conference attendees, talking about the success of the campaign.