If you are looking to target the highly brand-loyal NASCAR audience and you have never done it before, you will quickly learn there is a lot more to it than just painting up a stock car.
Not long ago a car covered in logos or a full branded paint job was about all you could do with stock cars. Now, racing teams and NASCAR itself are more active in working with agencies to educate them about all of the possibilities available to a brand and to design an appropriate package.
“The first thing an advertiser has to realize is that this is not just like making a media buy,” says Bill Scott, director of marketing, VP of marketing at Petty Enterprises, one of the 43 NASCAR racing teams. “Figuring out all of the business opportunities to use NASCAR takes time and work. Most importantly, if you do not enter into [the racing world] with a clear set of objectives, it’s not going to be successful.” Scott says he now has a staff of 12 working with agencies to make sure they understand everything that comes with getting a brand on a car.
Beyond having a clear objective, one of the first things a buyer should do is contact NASCAR directly. The organization has an office in New York that deals with agency queries and can set up necessary meetings with the racing teams.
“Once an agency calls us, we will walk them through what is involved with sponsorship, let them know what teams have what availabilities and facilitate the meetings,” says Andrew Fiet, NASCAR’s director of new business and industry relations. Fiet says that once a media buyer narrows down to three to five teams they may want to work with, NASCAR will contact those teams to get a package designed. He did stress, however, that NASCAR will never negotiate on behalf of a sponsor or a team.
Fiet also says that there are indeed a lot of possibilities for a sponsor, and ultimately what they get depends, quite simply, on what an advertiser wants out of the deal. Sponsorships typically last one to three years. Here are just a few of the “opportunities” a sponsor can explore as well as some estimated costs.
• Logos on a B-post (the area on the outside of the car right behind the driver’s head) or C-post (the angular post that runs to the trunk of the car): This is a non-exclusive area where other brand logos can exist. Costs average $200K to $500K, which typically includes some driver appearances (photo shoots, TV, or events).
• Quarter panel logos: Can range from $750K to $2 million. Also can include driver appearances.
• Primary package: Entire car painted and team uniforms, signage on large transporter trucks, five to 10 appearances by driver, and hospitality (chalet and tents at the track). The details of this kind of deal as well as others are negotiated. Typical costs can range from $8- to $15 million.
The racing teams and sponsors ultimately decide the packages and costs, not NASCAR. The racing season customarily lasts from mid-February to mid-November, and Fiet stresses that the best time to start working on a deal for the 2003 season is now. He also says that once agreements are signed, the teams usually work fast to get all of the necessary signage in place.
To contact NASCAR’s Andrew Fiet, call 212-754-3000 or email him at email@example.com.