Posts Tagged ‘politics’

When Nascar takes Sponsorship too far.

Posted: July 13, 2008 in Uncategorized
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So one of my favorite things to do is watch NASCAR. As a Marketing student I also love to see the “creative” ways they bring in sponsorship dollars. Every race has a sponsor, the cars have multiple sponsors, there are official drinks, delivery companies, and even motor oil; not to mention the mid-race trivia and the restarts that received sponsorship. It seems that NASCAR knows sponsorship.

The one thing that does surprise me is the possible sponsorship of a car in an upcoming race from presidential hopeful Barack Obama. Now the Senator is only considering the sponsorship but lets look at how this could work out. NASCAR is very republican. For the most part the large demographic is southern conservative so this is a crowd that typically will not even give a democratic candidate the time of day. This would be great exposure for the presidential hopeful, if they get it right (which I will come back to).

The team they are in talks with is a part-time team. It sounds like the proposal is for one race, Aug. 3 Pocono. This could possibly be a nice way for Sen. Obama to boost his image with the southerns, those who cling to their guns and bibles. He needs their support to get a good showing and any votes he could take away from McCain would only be in his favor.

The big problem with this is that the team races Toyota cars. Even if Sen Obama is not directly sponsoring the make of the car, being associated with a car that is taking away jobs from Detroit could potentially be a downside for the Senator. He has spoken numerous times in Michigan about bringing jobs back and this would not be a good way to show he is committed to the American auto industry.

On top of that the driver that would be sponsored is Ken Schrader. He is by no means a top driver… hence the part-time status but the big drawback to sponsoring his car is the fact that he is Republican. He has donated to numerous Republican campaigns in the past so how would it look if Obama was sponsoring someone who would be potentially donated to Sen McCain?

This is a difficult spot for Barack Obama’s campaign team to be in. What are the pros and cons of this sponsorship and is it worth it? I believe, if done right (i.e. right driver, car), it could be a big boost amongst the so-called “NASCAR dads.” It could help his campaign by being visible to a demographic that consistently votes Republican. I guess we will see what his decision will be and what outcome it could have.

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