Central to the campaign are coded trading cards, featuring photos of Nascar heroes posing with their OCC-modified bikes.
The effort, via the Charlotte, N.C. office of Millsport, the sponsorship consulting division of The Marketing Arm, features Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahn and Jimmie Johnson, who each are getting specially designed Orange County Choppers.
The bikes will be presented to them next weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway. Photos taken at the press event will be on the collectible "Hero" Cards, says Bruce Moseley, Millsport's account director on Sunoco.
During the promotion, running September and October, consumers visiting any of Sunoco's 4,800 stations, will get one OCC Driver Bike Autograph Card with a 10-gallon purchase. Once a consumer collects all four, they will be able to enter to win the grand prize of designing their own OCC-customized chopper. Sunoco will support with print, radio and Internet ads, mainly focused on motorsports and Nascar vertical publications.
Chris Buitron, senior brand marketing manager for Sunoco, says the strategy evolved from research showing a strong correlation between OCC (now called "American Chopper" airing on The Learning Channel) and Nascar.
"When we looked at demographics of Nascar and demographics of fans who watch American Chopper there was absolutely a strong correlation," he says.
Sunoco, which has been the official fuel of Nascar for three years, will retain that status until 2015, according to Buitron, who says Sunoco has signage at tracks and logos on all Nascar race cars, on racer fire suits, and on the gas cans pit crews use to fill the cars.
The company also advertises on TV broadcasts of Nascar events, and also has a branded presence in the OCC garage.
Sunoco is the largest provider of race fuel in the U.S., he adds, including Nascar and more than 50 other sanctioned racing bodies. This is Sunoco's second year partnering with OCC. Last year Sunoco had one custom chopper built, as part of two episodes of OCC. The bike was raffled off in a promotion to support Kyle and Pattie Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp for kids.