Saturday, May 23, 2009

Coca Cola 600 - Red, White and Brands

NASCAR is all about its fans and it is also about about its brands. The sport runs on brands from Office Depot to Coca Cola to M & M's. If you are around Lowes Motor Speedway for the Coca Cola 600, scan around and count the number of brands you see.

The brands are an integral part of the sport. The week between the Sprint All-Star race and the Coca Cola 600 is Food Lion Speed Street. It is estimated that 400,000 fans will descend on Charlotte this weekend to visit the festival featuring a way to meet drivers, sample new products, and interact with the brands.

Even in the media center, the other day, I walked out with a box of Hamburger Helper and Cheerios. As you watch the race, you will see Toyota is now a major part of the sport. Their logo and brand is on the inside walls of the racetrack. Even some of the pace cars are Toyota Hybrids and the trucks that clean the track are Toyota Tundras.

Showing the success of branding this weekend up front is Coca Cola. This is their race weekend. At the track on Friday was a one quarter mile grill serving hot dogs and hamburgers to thousands of fans. They had a large stage with interviews of Coca Cola drivers (they sponsor 14 drivers). Even hall of fame driver, Bobby Allison made an appearance.

Coca Cola in the past would bring in the American Idols to perform this week at Speed Street or at the race. This year they decided to bring in the winner of Dancing with the Stars. Well, sometimes brands hit home runs or in this case they won "Gold". Olympic Gymnast, Shawn Johnson. will be swept up into the world of racing and NASCAR as the Honorary Marshall of the Coca Cola 600. This is about as All-American as you can be.

The 50th running of the Coca Cola 600 will be all about the Red White and Blue on Memorial day weekend, plus the Red and White Brands of Coca Cola, Office Depot and Toyota. Tune in at 5 pm EDT on Fox TV on Sunday, May 24th.. Before they say "Racers start your engines", let's say, "Viewers Watch Your Brands".