Coca-Cola Expands Nascar Deal To 'Non-Alcoholic Bevs'

Coca-Cola, which has been involved with Nascar for four decades and an official Nascar sponsor for a decade, is extending the relationship for another decade with a deal that expands its involvement from official soft drink of Nascar to official non-alcoholic beverage.

Separately, the Atlanta-based beverage giant has also signed a 10-year agreement with International Speedway Corp. (ISC), which with 12 tracks in the U.S. owns the majority of Nascar race venues, including the Daytona International Speedway. Coke will be the lead soft drink pour at 12 tracks next year, expanding to 17 tracks by 2012.

The launch will take place at the 50th running of the Daytona 500 at famed Daytona International Speedway.

The deal allows Coca-Cola to bring several non-soft-drink labels into the Nascar fold. In addition to Coca-Cola being the "Official Sparkling Beverage of Nascar," the company's Powerade will be the "Official Sports Beverage of Nascar"; Dasani, the "Official Water of Nascar"; and Minute Maid, the "Official Juice of Nascar."

The company says that Coke Zero will also have a major role, including new Nascar-themed advertising debuting in early 2008, high-visibility track signage and Coke Zero driver appearances. The company says Glaceau Vitaminwater will also have an expanded presence.

"From our perspective, under this relationship they are adding brands, essentially," says a Nascar spokesperson. "It's not just Coca-Cola, but a much bigger presence for Coke Zero, Dasani and their other beverages. This gives them much more leeway, with multiple brands supporting Nascar at various levels."

Susan Stribling, a Coke representative, says the deal basically allows Coca-Cola to add any of its brands into the Nascar equation. "But the degree of marketing around each brand varies."

Glaceau, which Coke acquired this year, has had an ongoing sponsorship relationship with Evernham Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne. "We are working on how to use them in the sport," says Stribling. "We typically use our drivers in our advertising, and we typically launch a national Nascar ad on Daytona weekend."

Coca-Cola sponsors several drivers and teams, including Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Kyle Petty, Tony Stewart and Michael Waltrip. The drivers are featured in advertising, promotions and packaging.

The company, which has title sponsorship of the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., will next year become title sponsor of the July 4th Nascar Sprint Cup Series and Nascar Nationwide Series races at Daytona International Speedway.

Roger VanDerSnick, senior vice president/marketing and business operations at ISC, says Coca-Cola replaces PepsiCo as the exclusive pour at its tracks. "Starting next year, we will transition a large number of tracks to Coke, and we will add to them as we go." He says there will be some overlap because Pepsi's Gatorade has an ongoing marketing relationship with the tracks, as well.

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