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After Road America
Rank Driver Points

1 Simon Pagenaud 375
2 Helio Castroneves 301
3 Will Power 294
4 Scott Dixon 285
5 Josef Newgarden 283
6 Tony Kanaan 280
7 Carlos Munoz 262
8 Graham Rahal 261
9 Juan Pablo Montoya 259
10 Alexander Rossi 257
11 Ryan Hunter-Reay 256
12 Charlie Kimball 255
13 James Hinchcliffe 242
14 Sebastien Bourdais 222
15 Takuma Sato 186
Conor Daly 186
17 Marco Andretti 184
18 Mikhail Aleshin 169
19 Max Chilton 149
20 Jack Hawksworth 129
21 Spencer Pigot 97
22 Gabby Chaves 92
23 JR Hildebrand 84
24 Oriol Servia 72
25 Townsend Bell 55
26 Luca Filippi 45
27 Matt Brabham 37
28 Alex Tagliani 35
29 Ed Carpenter 33
Pippa Mann 33
31 Sage Karam 22
32 Bryan Clauson 21
33 Stefan Wilson 14
34 Buddy Lazier 12


Manufacturers
Chevy 461
Honda 319
It's 2011 already.  We need to start thinking that way.

by Brian Mackey
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

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Much has been debated in recent seasons regarding Indy Car’s television broadcast coverage. Much of it negative. Numerous stories and comments have appeared that continue to describe Indy Car’s Versus cable network coverage as inadequate and doomed to ultimate failure, the television coverage itself, if not the entire series. The reasoning goes that without credible rating numbers, the sport cannot attract sufficient sponsorship funding to be a viable commercial venture. All of that is true. But it’s also wrong.

It’s so very “20th century” to believe that relatively passive television broadcasting of an event is sufficient to satisfy today’s marketing objectives. Simply broadcasting to a larger audience is not going to cure Indy Cars marketing challenges. More modern thinking will.

As an illustration of how to develop a modern motorsport marketing platform, from a marketing perspective, I would point to Ken Block. Who? Ken Block, the (now) rally driver. I think all might agree that his motorsport campaign receives, at best, modest traditional television coverage. He receives network coverage through the X-games, but that seems about all. He has been the subject of several feature oriented stories, but little commercial network, not much cable and certainly not much in the way of ratings to utilize as the basis for his marketing of the rally team. If he were to primarily rely on television rating numbers, his rally car would be painted vanilla white, with not a sponsor to be found – like many of his rally predecessors. In fact, I tried to sell some “rally” oriented sponsorship 15 -20 years ago, with no results. From the traditional standpoint, rallying is a virtual “impossible” to sell to sponsors, particularly back then.

Yet, traditional he is not. What he has accomplished should be a lesson to every race team, including Indy Car teams, looking for the combination that will bring positive marketing results to their sponsor partner campaign. Consider his numbers that are relevant, viable and most importantly, marketing potent. As of this writing:

• His Facebook friends number 1,472,643. Danica, Indy Cars biggest star, has 25,357. Helio has 7,110. The Indy Car series itself numbers 39,365. Danica’s, Helio’s and Indy Car’s combined friends equal about 5% of Block’s.

• Ken Block’s YouTube videos totally destroy any comparison to Indy Car. His top three viral videos on YouTube number 30,500,229, 25,058,188 and 22,855,603 views. By comparison, Danica Patrick scores highest as might be expected with 2,602,479 for her SI swimsuit video and 1,689,547 views on her Godaddy.com commercial.

o Block’s Gymkhana 2 video was 2009's #4 most viewed viral video.

o Block’s Gymkhana 3 video got more than seven million views in its first week.

• If you Google “Ken Block” you get 11,400,000 returns. Compare that to “Danica Patrick” 5,300,000, Helio Castroneves 540,000 or “Indy” and you get 145,000.

So, picture yourself a marketing man. You’re being pitched on sponsorship of a certain property, be it an Indy car team (as an example) or Ken Block (hypothetically). Ken has a rally program that features limited “traditional” media compared to Indy Car’s television coverage, albeit on Versus, but it is national television cable coverage. But Block is not selling television coverage, or at least not relying on it.

TV is merely a piece of a larger pie and a by-product of a multi-layered media campaign. What he has developed and is developing is a relevant, smart, interactive, modern and exciting platform of motorsport to offer sponsors. He utilizes today’s “media” choices extremely well and has extended his influence far beyond what might be reached via television coverage alone. His videos are creative, visual and entertaining. The response to them has been, in a word, sensational. His viral videos are among the top viewed on the internet, period.

Now, you’re that marketing guy at a sponsor desk and you’ve just been presented with these kinds of numbers, this kind of interactive relationship, this level of commercial platform viability and you have to choose. Block or the Indy Car team……

Ken Block’s approach is basically available to all of motorsports with the proper and creative application of a modern outlook on motorsport marketing. It’s not easy, mind you. Block’s challenge now is to keep it fresh and relevant. It’s extremely difficult to be that creative and stay that creative, but in fundamental terms, we all can duplicate what Ken has done. I believe that Versus is not the problem. In fact, their coverage of Indy Car racing is quite commendable. Maybe it could be better, but that is not the debate here. 20th century thinking is.

I would advise all of us in motorsport to seriously consider the strategies employed by motorsport campaigns such as Ken Block’s. Many kudos to him and his marketing team for creating this level of sponsor success. If motorsports were to adopt as much of his strategy as possible, the television debate would be cured as well. Ratings would surge as the popularity of the sport soared among FANS, not passive television viewers.

Ultimately, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Take a quick look at Block’s rally car. It’s covered with sponsors. I hope and trust he can keep it going with fresh and quality creative. In the meantime, I suggest we all follow his lead and re-think the process of attracting sponsors. It’s 2011 and there is so much that can be done.

Brian Mackey,
Mackey Marketing Group, Inc.
the flat out marketing agency

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