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NASCAR Novela: Coming full-speed to the Hispanic audience

31 Mar

Danica Patrick winning the 2013 Daytona 500 pole is not the only big diversity move happening in NASCAR.

In an AdAge interview (2012) with NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps, Phelps outlines five goals for NASCAR to achieve in the next five years:

  1. Build the star power of individual drivers
  2. Increase engagement among children and college-age consumers
  3. Attract a multicultural fan base
  4. Craft more cohesive digital- and social-media strategies
  5. Improve the racetrack experience for fans

Phelps has been driving these efforts (NASCAR pun intended) since 2010. In this Q&A session, Phelps was asked about what NASCAR is doing to attract a multicultural fan base, specifically Hispanics.

“We’ve done some small things. At three of our race tracks we did heavy up-spending in those markets buying media. We had a virtual garage tour in Spanish. The NASCAR website can be viewed in Spanish, as well, but that’s basically just a translation. Looking ahead, we’re in discussions with a Spanish-language outlet to create digital content for us, and we hope to have meaningful content live in 2013.”

Of course, it all starts small. But NASCAR executives know that Spanish garage tour and translated website is not going to seal the deal.  To attract and engage such a large market, NASCAR needs to truly capture the Hispanic audience off the track before they can capture them on it.

Just as stated in Phelps’s response, 2013 is the year for NASCAR to produce meaningful digital content to Hispanics. NASCAR has pursued digital content in one of the most popular forms of Hispanic entertainment: novelas.

¿Qué es una novela?/ What is a novela?

According to Wikipedia, a telenovela is a limited-run serial dramatic programming popular in Latin American, Portuguese, Filipino, Spanish, and American (Spanish language network) television programming. Essentially, a novela is a Spanish soap opera.

A Virtual Racing Experience

Arranque de Pasión, La Historia de Ela,’ a drama set in a fictional NASCAR world staring Latina actress Kate Del Castillo, tells a story with equal parts romance and speed. This novela is co-produced by NASCAR and Univision and will debut on Univision’s website this month. In May, ‘Arranque de Pasión’ is scheduled to appear on Univision network television.

Screenshot of Univision.com

Screenshot of Univision.com

Sounds like a pretty good gig, right? After all, NASCAR is lacking significant exposure to Hispanics. But why did NASCAR choose a novela to reach this particular audience? Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo, who stars as Ela, knows why.

“When you think about it [NASCAR], it’s all about family, and that’s what we like. It’s about spending an entire day at the track. It’s an experience, a whole day for family, and yet it’s very dangerous. It’s very dramatic. I think it’s perfect for us.” -Del Castillo

So, this is the digital media content Phelps was talking about. Hey, I think this might be the perfect element to draw Hispanic attention. Drama, passion, romance, with a racing vibe to capture viewers and make them want to be a part of the NASCAR experience.

Univision knows what they are doing when it comes to producing novelas, and NASCAR is watching over to ensure authenticity and accuracy of the sport.

Speaking of authenticity, here’s the big question: Are there going to be guest appearances from our favorite NASCAR stars? So far, all sources have indicated ‘no.’ Although the majority of the filming was conducted at Homestead-Miami Speedway, don’t get your hopes up for any guest appearances… at least not yet, I imagine this could be an aspect still up for discussion.

An Extra 0.02 Cents

This is exactly what I have been waiting for! I knew I was a Spanish minor for a reason. This is exactly what NASCAR needs: a more diverse demographic.  For a while, I was worried that the multicultural initiative was going to be all talk and no game. I think the novela is a big move and Phelps’s goal #3 is finally coming to fruition.

Look forward to a blog post about the first episode. It will be in Spanish (of course), but I am fluent and will keep all my non-Spanish speaking readers informed!

 

Sources: NASCAR Hopes To Win Latinos With Telenovela

NASCAR Targets New Audiences, Revs Up Social-Media Strategy

 

This blog post is a part of a series for Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University.

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Another Look Into Brand Loyalty: featuring Die-Hard NASCAR fans

10 Mar

It is a Sunday afternoon and SURPRISE! I am sitting in front of my television, doing homework at a snail’s pace because I am watching the Kobalt Tools 400 in Vegas. Piddling through FastCompany articles, I came across an article that could not have been a better job at catching my eye: How NASCAR Uses Access to Build the Most Loyal Brand Fans Anywhere. Brand loyalty, a common theme we have been discussing in IMC and NASCAR. Sounds like a great Sunday afternoon read.

Martin’s First Lap (No, not Mark Martin)

Amy Jo Martin, founder and CEO of Digital Royalty, tells of her first NASCAR race, the 2011 Daytona 500. She prefaces the article with all the negative connotations she had of a “monotonous day of left turns and mullets.” Martin does not go into detail about who drove well or who won the race that day, but rather emphasizes the experience. She knew that NASCAR fans were as loyal as they come, but she did not understand why until she experienced a race herself.

To someone who does not follow NASCAR, the sport and the fans are both misunderstood. Martin will first claim and even “swear on her iPhone” that she did not see a single mullet. Take a look at the photo I have attached of NASCAR fans in the Grandstands. There are men, women, boys, and girls. Notice they are all standing. They’re engaged and they look just like me and you.

NASCAR fansphoto credit: mlovitt via photopin cc

NASCAR fans
photo credit: mlovitt via photopin cc

What she did see was accessibility. Interaction. Passion. It is a different experience than any other professional sport because of the accessibility to the track and the drivers. Drivers take pictures, sign autographs, and interact with fans literally until the second they enter their vehicles.  Fans are allowed to be on the track and capture memories that will last them a lifetime. Each driver interaction entices a fan to want to meet and connect with more drivers. It is a never-ending cycle.

Martin says that personal access is the “entry point for any growing brand.” Personal access? That is exactly what I experienced when I met Kasey Kahne at a Q&A session in Martinsville last April. I was even able to talk to him for a minute about a mutual friend we share, my mentor and NASCAR inspiration, Mr. Phillip Murdock.

Martin recalls fans at the Daytona 500 being called down from the Grandstands to sign the track.  This is essentially the same thing as the Red Socks fans summoned down to Fenway Park to stand on the pitchers mound. But let’s be honest, that does not happen unless you are the lucky winner of hundreds of thousands of fans entered into some kind of contest. For a kid who goes down to the track with his or her parent and signs the pavement, a connection is made, and a lifetime fan is born.

Martin’s Final Lap

Every NASCAR fan has the opportunity to access, connect, and create a relationship. This is easily why fans have a favorite driver who they are loyal to.  This loyalty all starts with first point of access the fan was exposed to.  And despite the fact that NASCAR drivers ride solo, NASCAR fans certainly do not. What Martin learned was that they not only have a connection to the brand and the drivers, but with each other. Let me support that statement by assuring you that every time I have been in the Grandstands, I have made friends. These are people I will never see again, but for three hours, we can enjoy cheering and watching the race with each other. At the end of the day, it was all about the experience.

There are two lessons to be learned here:

  1. Martin concluded her article by writing that with her #GiveNASCARaChance hashtag, she created an audience (that like her) gave NASCAR a chance and tuned in for the first time ever. In one day, Martin was made a believer. “The woman who never had a NASCAR bone in her body,” had gained an appreciation for the sport, no long ignorant to “left turns.”
  2. Brand loyalty all starts with accessibility. My point? There might be a thing or two to learn from NASCAR. Their fan loyalty speaks volumes.

I hope this shed some light for y’all! Thanks for reading to all my non-NASCAR readers.

This blog post is a part of a series of assignments for Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University.

Source: How NASCAR Uses Access to Build the Most Loyal Brand Fans Anywhere

Go Daddy… GO GIRL!

19 Feb

Danica Patrick wins the Daytona 500 Coors Light Pole

I have been so busy, but SO eager to blog about this: Danica Patrick won the Coors Light Pole for the Daytona 500! What does this mean for all my  non-NASCAR readers? Danica Patrick will start at the front of the pack (inside lane) on Sunday, February 24th, 2013 for the biggest race of the year, the Daytona 500. Along side her in the #2 qualifying spot is Jeff Gordon.

Why is this huge news? It is the first time in history that a woman has won a pole in a premier racing circuit, at a top speed of 196.434 mph. This is big news for Danica and the Go Daddy team, but the headlines and the exposure are also great for the sport. I cannot tell you how many of my Elon friends (who do not follow NASCAR) approached me and wanted to talk about Danica’s pole win.

More Danica news coverage = Increased advertising and friendly reminders for people to watch the race this Sunday!

I would say that I have a similar body type to Danica. I am 5 feet and 3 inches tall, weighing in at approximately 115 pounds. I like to run and weight lift regularly, but by no means am I training for a Sprint Cup race. Danica’s “secret to success” just might be in her workout. She has really been focussed on developing her upper body strength, like a linebacker, to stay upright during the turns. Holding the steering wheel is like holding a medicine ball for 3 hours, and a driver can lose up to 7 pounds during a race because of the sauna-like conditions. Impressive.

Danica #10, Jeff #24, or Aric #43 (to name a few), their workouts are impressive. For anyone who thinks NASCAR is not a sport, reconsider. Watch this video! You might change your mind.

On that note, I think I am going to the gym. Happy Racing!

Sources: Danica Wins Daytona Pole

Breaking News, This Just In

12 Feb

Slide1

For my second blog post, Professor McAlhany encouraged me to blog about the latest article that is the top headline on the Elon University E-Net website. The funny thing is, it is about me! I never get the chance to brag about myself, so I am pretty excited to share this article with y’all.

This feature article showcases my internship this past summer at Petty’s Garage, Richard Petty’s custom hot rod shop. I have to admit that throughout the summer, I would forget that I was working. The assignments, the meetings, the trip to Daytona… I enjoyed it all. Reading and re-reading this article refreshes my memory of why people say “do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.”

Career Moves: Racing fan lands motorsports internship

I am honored to be featured on my university’s home page. It has fueled the fire underneath me that was already lit. I am blessed for the opportunity at Petty’s Garage because it reinforced my passion for the career path I have chosen. I have a feeling that a good closing line for my blog posts is going to be the signature NASCAR catch phrase, “Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines.” Everyday as I get closer to walking across the Elon University graduation stage, that is exactly how I feel: Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines.