John Force hired motorsports marketing agency JMI to become his first sales agency of record for the next three years.
The hiring follows decisions by longtime Force sponsors Castrol and Ford to discontinue their financial support of John Force Racing in 2015. Their decisions leave Force with a little more than a year to find more than $7 million in replacement support.
“When you have partners like Castrol for over 25 years and partners like Ford Motor Co. over 15 years, that’s a major hit,” Force said. “I’ve known of [JMI] and the work they do. I believe they can get the job done.”
Force said that JMI will focus on finding primary sponsors for two cars, a funny car he drives and a top fuel car his daughter Brittany drives. They also will search for manufacturing support for John Force Racing.
JMI plans to pitch Force to companies interested in reaching do-it-yourself consumers. They plan to target fashion and personal care brands for Brittany.
Jon Flack, JMI’s chief operating officer, will lead the agency’s sales efforts.
The majority of the agency’s business in the U.S. is in corporate consulting. The only other driver it represents is Jeff Gordon. The agency has worked with Gordon since 2010 and landed him a deal with Vizio. It also works with Gordon on his businesses, which include a wine business and car dealerships.
“We’re very selective about who we take on,” Flack said. “We know what we do and we do [consulting] well, and if we’re going to step into that [property sales] world, we want to align with premium brands.”
Force, 64, is a legend in drag racing. He won 10 straight funny car championships between 1993 and 2002, and has won 15 overall since 1990. His team is a family operation with him, son-in-law Robert Hight and daughter Courtney driving funny cars, and daughter Brittany driving a top fuel car.
The funny cars are in the top 10 of the NHRA standings this year, while the top fuel car Brittany drives is ranked 13th. Force has several large sponsors that have long-term contracts with the team, including Traxxas, the Auto Club of Southern California and Mac Tools.
Force hopes the combination of his age and stardom and his daughter’s youth will persuade new brands to support the team. He said, “We’re 300 miles an hour, and we’re going to go in the board rooms and show them when you buy John Force, you get everything it takes to promote a company.”