Big Race, Big Day for Coca-Cola

February 17, 2010

Sunday marked the 52nd running of the Daytona 500. The first race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is also the Super Bowl of the racing season, with nearly 30 million viewers tuning in to at least some portion of this year’s race, and in-person attendance upwards of 200,000.

NASCAR fans are the most passionate fans around, and this passion extends far beyond the Daytona 500. They understand that the cars and their favorite drivers wouldn’t be on the track each week if it weren’t for the sponsors, so they’re extremely loyal to sponsors– so long as they’re authentic, make it relevant to their passion, and make it entertaining. In return, they pay attention. For example, according to data gathered by Nielsen IAG:

  • Traditional ads airing in last year’s Daytona were 26% more likely to be recalled by race viewers than those who saw the ad run elsewhere.
  • Not only were Daytona watchers more likely to remember the ads, but they also enjoyed them more. Commercials aired during last year’s race were 25% more likeable than when they ran on other programming. 

Of course we’re slightly biased, but Coca-Cola is one sponsor that really understands how to integrate their internal communication platforms with their external sponsorships while still making it relevant to race fans. Take, for example, the Coca-Cola Family Track Walk program, which Fast Horse helped launch this past weekend. It’s a season-long program designed to encourage fans and their families to get active by offering access to some of the most popular tracks on the circuit, their favorite drivers and entertainment – combining their favorite sport with fun, family-friendly activities.

This past Sunday, thousands of fans got their engines running by taking the first “lap” of race day – on foot- alongside Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer, Elliott Sadler and three-time Daytona 500 champion Dale Jarrett, who were on hand to help jumpstart race day. Fans walked on legendary racing surface at Daytona International Speedway, got to experience first-hand the wonder of the 31 degree banking, and were treated to live entertainment, Q&A sessions with the drivers, and of course, refreshing Coca-Cola. All of this took place on the morning of the biggest race of the year. How’s that for access?

It’s just one example of why Coke remains one of the respected brands in the sport. Coke understands that possibilities to connect with NASCAR fans are limitless and every year they continue to evolve the program to stay relevant. From the Coca-Cola Racing Family, TV ads and point of sale promotions, to Track Walks and title sponsorships, Coke’s integration earns them beaucoup de credibility with fans, and staying power for the long run.