Eli Lilly's Deal With Diabetic NASCAR Driver Could Help It Regain Market Share
Eli Lilly's approximately $10M annual investment in and around NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ryan Reed "is a drop in the bucket" for the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical brand, "but could be critical to boosting the company’s market share in a field it once dominated," according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Though it is partnering with the American Diabetes Association, ADA officials said that Lilly is "footing the bill -- which sources close to the deal pegged" at $5M annually. Sources said that Lilly "will spend as much to activate and promote its sponsorship -- through activities at NASCAR tracks before and during races and hospital visits featuring Reed in NASCAR markets -- as it spends on the deal itself." Reed, who has Type 1 diabetes, won the season-opening Xfinity Series race, but the win "was only the start of his impressive Daytona performance." Reed during his post-race interview said, "This is for ... every kid who gets diagnosed with diabetes, or anything that says you can’t do something." American Diabetes Association Managing Dir of Corporate Alliances & Cause-Related Marketing Steve Wosahla: "It was amazing that, in the heat of the moment, that he was so spot-on with his messaging. That’s more than you could expect from a seasoned (marketing) professional." Though the partnership "might now seem like a no-brainer, Wosahla said Lilly wasn’t the only maker of diabetes medications the ADA contacted about sponsoring Reed." Lilly originally "wasn’t looking to get into racing," as it "had only one stint in racing -- open-wheel racing at that, more than a decade ago." But Lilly U.S. VP/Diabetes Mike Mason said the deal has given the drugmaker “tremendous exposure." The @LillyDiabetes Twitter handle after the race had a 618% increase "in mentions over the same period a week earlier" (IBJ.com, 3/7).