Go Straight. Turn Left.
NASCAR has been hard hit in this economy as more and more advertisers tighten their belts when it comes to marketing costs. NASCAR has made a fortune selling advertising space on cars, uniforms, practically anything they had in front of a camera had room for a logo on it. But for years now there has been more empty space than logos.
Social media might be changing all that.
Like every corporate entity looking to find eyeballs, NASCAR owners have started looking to social media, with its billions (yes, BILLIONS) of open eyes and eager fans. They have encouraged teams to reach out to fans, drivers to embrace the social media culture, and anyone with an internet connection that cares about the sport of racing, to spread the word.
And the word is good, so far.
Social media is also a way for NASCAR to get the word out about their sponsors, giving advertisers even more bang for their buck.
It’s in any stock car driver’s DNA to self-promote.
With sponsorship dollars tied so closely to getting a car on the track each week, making sure you get your name and most importantly the sponsor’s name out there as much as possible is imperative.
Indeed, some drivers have turned inserting the sponsor’s name into the post-race interview into a poetic art form. Carl Edwards comes to mind as one who is particularly adept at sneaking the names of his benefactors into conversation without seeming forced.
Drivers are also a brand unto themselves and need to find ways to insert themselves into the public conversation as well. For instance, the more play Jeff Gordon gets, the more opportunities he’ll have to plug DuPont.
So, it’s natural drivers have taken to social media to broadcast themselves, their teams and their sponsors. The dizzying array of new media platforms, however, means drivers have found different tactics that work for them.
Gordon’s handlers, for instance, provide lap-by-lap updates during races on his Facebook page. Gordon chimes in with his own thoughts on his page between races, for instance writing about his recent trip to Africa during July’s Sprint Cup off-week.
Joe Gibbs Racing provides similar information, but via its Twitter feed – and cheekily pronounces that it gives “biased” coverage to fans.
Both teams are getting the same data out, but the different platforms means fans interact in different ways. On the Facebook page, for instance, it’s easier for Gordon’s supporters to start a conversation among themselves in the comment section of each race update. It’s a place for fans to gather and cheer on their favourite driver.
However Gordon and his designated Facebooker are already preaching to the converted – and the hardcore fans are keenly aware of DuPont’s sponsorship as well as all of Gordon’s other sponsors. The messages he’s sending out are reaching the roughly 350,000 people who have signed up to ‘like’ his page, but aren’t being shared to the wider NASCAR community.
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