Event Awards

Michael Gallagher

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NASCAR’s Stevie Award-Winning Live Event Works For Toyota

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 @ 01:45 PM

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.

Matt ShulmanBranding 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.

Sell-Out Event
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.

Tags: live event awards, American business awards, stevie awards, event awards, nascar, event of the year, toyota, sprint cup

Virgin Mobile USA's FreeFest Rocks ABA Live Event Awards

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Jun 23, 2011 @ 01:18 PM

Virgin Mobile USA, a Sprint Prepaid brand base in Warren, New Jersey USA, won the Stevie Award for Best Consumer Event in the Live Event awards categories of The 2011 American Business Awards, announced on Monday, June 20 in New York City.

The Virgin Mobile Festival, a two-day music festival and ultimate fan experience based on the legendary U.K. Virgin Fest, launched in 2006 at Pimlico Racetrack in Baltimore, Maryland—and tens of thousands of fans have experienced the magic every year since. In 2009, the music festival became free, with a focus on giving back to people who were less fortunate. It was renamed the Virgin Mobile FreeFest. 

Over 25,000 fans attending the first Virgin Mobile FreeFest rocked hard with Blink-182, Franz Ferdinand, Public Enemy, Weezer, and more.   The fans may also have been giddy with good karma, having donated over 30,000 hours of community service through Virgin Mobile’s FREE I.P. program. This program encouraged fans to volunteer eight hours of time at designated homeless youth shelters in exchange for an upgraded VIP seat.  In addition, the music festival raised more than $80,000 to benefit homeless youth organizations.

Commitment to Give Back

Virgin Mobile’s strategy for launching the 2009 event was to lighten things up in the face of a rough economy while raising awareness for the issue of homeless youth through Virgin Mobile’s charitable initiative: The RE*Generation.

The RE*Generation is Virgin Mobile’s effort to empower a generation to help its own by bringing together organizations that care about homeless youth, and connecting them with young people who want to help. The RE*Generation program has been a force in creating awareness and support for homeless youth since 2006.

The 2010 Virgin Mobile FreeFest brought an amazing group of artists, bands, and events covering more than 40 acres at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. The A-list lineup included headliners Ludacris, LCD Soundsystem, MIA, Jimmy Eat World, and Thievery Corporation.

Paying It Forward to Help Homeless Youth

What really sets FreeFest apart from other events, though, is its Pay-It-Forward commitment. Although 35,000 tickets were scooped up online in just minutes, Virgin Mobile’s FREE I.P. program, returning for a second year, allowed fans still interested in attending to volunteer their time at homeless youth organizations in order to earn their way into the festival. Fans were also encouraged to make a $5 donation in support of The RE*Generation. Those who made the donation received a 2010 Virgin Mobile FreeFest mash-up of the entire lineup.

For 2010, Virgin Mobile FreeFest amped up the charitable component and strongly encouraged concert goers and fans to top the 2009 donations.  That goal was achieved. Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2010 raised a total of $200,000—all benefiting homeless youth organizations Sasha Bruce Youthwork and Green Chimneys—while attendees volunteered a collective 25,000 hours. 

Ron FarisSaid Ron Faris, formerly director of Brand Marketing for Virgin Mobile and currently Director, Brand Strategy & Marketing, Virgin Mobile USA: “Virgin Mobile FreeFest’s main objective of raising money and giving back to the community while providing a rocking experience met and surpassed all our expectations.”

Details of the 2011 event will be announced soon at http://www.virginmobilefreefest.com.

About Sprint Prepaid Brands

Sprint’s prepaid portfolio includes the following brands: Assurance Wireless, Boost Mobile, PayLo, and Virgin Mobile. Each brand is customized to appeal to a specific customer segment within the expanding prepaid market, all without contracts and all on the Nationwide Sprint Network.

About Ron Faris

As director of Brand Experiences at Virgin Mobile USA, Ron Faris has been responsible for managing Virgin Mobile’s largest brand marketing programs, including lifestyle marketing, events and sponsorships, branded entertainment, and cause-related marketing initiatives. He oversaw the execution of Virgin Mobile’s sponsorship of The Monster Ball Starring Lady Gaga in 2010 and 2011. Prior to that he conceived and launched the 2009 Virgin Mobile “FreeFest,” the largest free concert in the country.  The Virgin Mobile Festival, now the largest on the East Coast as it enters its fifth year, has boasted the largest acts in the nation, including Kanye West, Bob Dylan, Foofighters, The Who, and The Police. Before that, he was responsible for managing Virgin Mobile’s sponsorship of “The Circus Starring Britney Spears.”

As part of Sprint now, Ron’s responsibilities have shifted to oversee more of the broader positioning of Virgin Mobile in the marketplace including advertising and brand communications.  He recently introduced the “Sparah” campaign, which has Virgin Mobile literally manufacturing a celebrity couple to demonstrate the many ways our customers use data and social networking to keep tabs on pop culture.

Prior to joining Virgin Mobile, Ron was director of strategic partnerships at Atari, the video game company. There, he was instrumental in building content licensing deals focusing on mobile platforms, interactive TV, and in-game music development. Ron also served as brand director, building robust multi-platform marketing programs for games such as “The Matrix: Path of Neo.”

Ron began his career working for six years at Accenture in their telecommunications and media & entertainment consulting practices. He then joined Scient Corporation (now Razorfish) where he spent four years managing digital marketing initiatives, including the re-launch of several web portals in the financial services sector.

Ron is a native New Yorker and an award-winning short filmmaker. His films and documentaries have exhibited at several film festivals and cable networks, including HBO.  He lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.

Tags: American business awards, stevie awards, event awards, best event, virgin mobile

Why Portugal Telecom Won a Live Event Award in the 2010 IBAs

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 @ 03:29 PM

Portugal Telecom won a Stevie Award for Best Internal Recognition/Motivational Event in the Live Event awards categories of The 7th Annual International Business Awards. Read the full-text of their winning entry.

Portugal Telecom Christmas PartyPortugal Telecom (PT) held a hugely successful Christmas party for all their employees on December 18, 2009—for the second consecutive year—which was an auspicious way both to end the year and to start the new cycle for 2010. Here we look at how they organized this mega-event.

PT’s main objectives for organizing such a massive party—it was held in FIL, Lisbon’s futuristic International Fair halls in the Parque das Nações, and attended by just under 9,000 people­—were to bring as many of their employees together as possible, to make them all feel a part of the PT team, to celebrate the year’s successes, and, of course, to celebrate the spirit of the holidays.

The logistics of organizing such an event were awe-inspiring.  Following the success of the 2008 Christmas party, it was likely that even more of the 8,500 PT employees would want to attend the 2009 event; and PT had a formidable task to meet and surpass the high expectations raised by the 2008 party.

Christmas for People with Fiber
The theme for the event was Christmas for People with Fiber (as in fiber-optic technology) and the space was to be decorated to reflect this theme.  PT first had to find a space large enough to hold up to 9,000 people; that would allow for them all to sit down to eat; and that would provide space for the entertainment afterwards, a post-dinner show with a medley of Portuguese music. 

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Tags: live event awards, International business awards, stevie awards, event awards, portugal telecom, event of the year