The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) of New York won a Gold Stevie Award for Best Brand Experience Event in the live event awards categories of The 2013 American Business Awards. (Entries for The 2014 American Business Awards are now being accepted - get your entry kit here.)
We asked NASCAR how their Stevie-winning event of the year provided branding opportunities for Toyota.
NASCAR created a first-of-its-kind “fan” event, NASCAR Contenders Live, Sponsored by Toyota, to promote The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the most competitive stretch of the NASCAR season. Presented in September 2012, the event was built upon one of the biggest moments in the sport: the announcement of the top 12 drivers in The Chase.
Branding Opportunity for Toyota
For Toyota, the goal was to engage NASCAR fans and build excitement for The Chase by providing access to the top 12 NASCAR drivers. An integrated marketing platform showcased Toyota’s involvement in the sport throughout the entire event cycle.
Toyota wanted to highlight its “made in the U.S.” product and incorporate a local manufacturing plant in Chicago’s backyard. The event gave Toyota hospitality and branding opportunities in the Chicago region, as Toyota was able to engage their Chicago-region associates through the VIP hospitality area that was created by NASCAR.
NASCAR created an event thematic that would align with the powerful brand identity of The Chase while ensuring that the DNA of Toyota’s brand was integrated.
NASCAR secured Chris Myers, a NASCAR on Fox personality, to emcee the event and encourage additional energy at the venue with the questions he had for the top 12 drivers. Some of the questions were collected through Toyota’s Facebook page, and some questions were asked live by the fans themselves. The dual webcast made available by Fox Sports 1 and NASCAR.com captured all the best moments.
Traditional & Social Media
Targeted media to promote the event and Toyota’s sponsorship were pivotal in generating awareness. This included the #1 rated ABC TV local morning show in Chicago; radio; digital outlets like NASCAR.com, Facebook, and Twitter; and advertising at the track. NASCAR created a partnership with the motoring blog SPEED to elevate publicity associated with the event.
NASCAR built a multifaceted communications plan to reinforce Toyota’s support and Official Sponsor status. Both national and local media were targeted to deliver on these objectives. Coverage included Speed TV (now Fox Sports 1),The New York Times, Sports Business Journal; and on a local level with the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine.
Toyota was integrated throughout the entire marketing platform, including key incorporation of Toyota drivers in a social media campaign through Twitter.
A sweepstakes was held in the run-up to the event, and as the Official Sponsor of NASCAR Contenders Live, Toyota provided the ultimate sweepstakes prize: a Toyota Camry. The winner attended the NASCAR Contenders Live event to have the keys to their new Toyota presented to them on stage.
The Sweepstakes generated over half a million Toyota Facebook Page Views and received over 205,000 Sweepstakes entries in a six-week period.
The event was sold out in its inaugural year. NASCAR conducted a custom survey to ticket buyers following the NASCAR Contenders Live event. As a true testament of the strong alignment with Toyota, 94% of survey respondents could recall Toyota as the sponsor of the event.
Over 143 total media hits were secured--including TV, radio, and online--reaching 34.5 million people. There was zero neutral or negative traditional news coverage, and over 80% of earned media rated “strongly favorable” or better (Source: Carma International Global Media Analysts).
Said Matt Shulman, managing director of Marketing Platforms: “Winning a Stevie Award for this live event is an honor. With our hard-working colleagues at JHE Production, we put together a spectacularly successful event for our sponsors, and being recognized for this by our peers at The American Business Awards has been a great experience.”
Find out more about the importance of corporate awards here. To view all the awards categories in The 2014 American Business Awards, visit:
About Matt Shulman
Matt Shulman serves as NASCAR’s managing director of marketing platforms, managing a department that provides strategic direction, content development, and creative solutions to more than 40 official partners, licensees, and automotive partners of the sanctioning body.
Based in NASCAR’s New York office, Shulman’s biggest achievements include launching a national marketing partnership with one of the country’s largest retailers; producing award-winning live events; conceptualizing the company’s first web-based sponsorship product; and developing some of the first NASCAR social media campaigns.
Before joining the NASCAR team six years ago, Shulman worked in media and film at CBS Altitude Group, Studionext.com, Hypnotic, and Hill Holliday Advertising.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) governs the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. For more information, visit www.nascar.com and follow NASCAR at www.facebook.com/NASCAR and Twitter: @NASCAR.