Daytona 500 marks 50th year with marketing blitz at Kroger

Although the golden anniversary of NASCAR's Daytona 500 is more than half a year away, a special 50th race logo will appear on branded products exclusively on Kroger supermarket shelves beginning in July.

Although the golden anniversary of NASCAR's Daytona 500 is more than half a year away, a special 50th race logo will appear on branded products exclusively on Kroger supermarket shelves beginning in July.

The race will take place February 17, 2008.

International Speedway Corp., which owns race venue Daytona International Speedway, is heading up the effort. "They're doing a great job of creating a program way out in advance," says Andrew Giangola, director of business communications at NASCAR, adding that this is likely the largest marketing program a track and a retailer will ever have attempted.

The products will have exclusivity in each category, including snacks, condiments, center-plate items, consumer-packaged goods, cereals, and Kroger's private-label brands. Kellogg, Unilever, ConAgra, General Mills, Nabisco, and PepsiCo are among the companies that are marketing the Daytona 500 logo.

The marketing strategy seeks to drive interest in TV coverage and strengthen the consumer-facing relation between NASCAR and its marketing partners. Fox has exclusive TV rights through 2014, with in-race 30-second spots going for about $500,000.

Why does it matter?

"It's the mega-event nature of the Daytona 500," says Giangola. More than 350,000 people attended the 2007 race. In addition, NASCAR has become the second highest-rated sport on TV.

There is also a great amount of corporate involvement in NASCAR. Approximately 106 Fortune 500 companies have some involvement in NASCAR, and many of them are at the season's opening race. "We had more corporate [attendees] at the Daytona 500 than the entire crowd at the NBA All-Star Game, which happens around the same time," notes Giangola.

Daytona International Speedway has started promoting the 50th anniversary race early, by asking stars to design the official ticket. It received about 38 submissions from such celebrities as My Name is Earl star Jason Lee and comedian Jeff Foxworthy.

Five facts:

1 Cincinnati-based Kroger is the nation's leading grocery chain, with more than $66 billion in sales in 2006 across its 2,500 stores.

2 According to Forbes, the Daytona 500 is the fourth-most valuable sports event in the world, with $91 million in TV-rights fees, sponsorships, ticket receipts, and licensing.

3 The top three sports events are the Super Bowl ($379 million), the Summer Olympics ($176 million), and the FIFA World Cup ($103 million).

4 Out of NASCAR's 75 million fans, 40% of them are female. In addition, for every two new NASCAR fans, one of them is a woman.

5 NASCAR PR agency Taylor conducted a Mother's Day event, in which four NASCAR moms went on a series of media tours.

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