The Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500 are the most popular, most talked about auto races in the U.S., with no other real competition from any other single tire-burning event. That formula shifted a bit last week when the Indy raced on the same day as the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race at Concorde, N.C.
First, Coke is a major sponsor of both races. Second, NASCAR driver Kurt Busch raced both last Sunday. Two major races in one day -- a Red Bull-level stunt if there ever was one, although Red Bull has nothing to do with either race, for what it’s worth. The last time anyone tried it was in 2004 (Robby Gordon.)
Social marketing firm Sprinklr, which builds back-end social-media technology and infrastructure for marketing enterprise, looked at social buzz for both -- finding that among other things, on a direct event-comparison level the Indy pretty much lapped the 600. No real surprise there.
The Indy also garnered more positive mentions on social media than the 600. On the brand level, Coca-Cola topped out with over 7,000 mentions on social, followed by Chevrolet at 1,900 mentions, and ESPN with the same number. Then came endemic brand Borg Warner, an auto parts supplier. After that came Tag Heuer, Miller Lite, Izod and Philips.
"Coke is a standout in part because of Busch and the fascination about his doing Indy and Nascar in one day,” says Brian Kotlyar, VP of demand generation at Sprinklr. “Coke is baked into that whole conversation."
Sprinklr reported Busch getting the most negative mentions of any driver, too, because he didn't win either race, though he got the second-most positive mentions after Indy winner Ryan Hunter-Reay. But Busch got more positive mentions than well-known Formula staple Helio Castroneves, the third most-mentioned racer.
Kotlyar tells Marketing Daily that the data suggests individual drivers outshine the races: “Kurt Busch was mentioned as much or more than the races because of his stunt.” Indeed, Busch got about 8,000 total mentions, while the winner got around 18,000 mentions, positive and negative.
"The vast majority of brands are very bad at taking advantage of social to maximize the value of event sponsorship," he says. "They spend millions to get their logos and stickers on cars, but don't maximize it to their advantage." Especially with racing, but with all sports, there's just this untapped opportunity to take advantage of social."