NASCAR turns to VaynerMedia to Help its Drivers Build Their Digital Brands

With TV ratings plummeting NASCAR needs to make drivers into heroes again
With TV ratings plummeting NASCAR needs to make drivers into heroes again

When it comes to building brands, no one might know how to do that better than entrepreneur and CEO of VaynerMedia, Gary Vaynerchuk.

Now, NASCAR is tapping the company that bears his namesake to help their drivers capitalize on a digital landscape that is turning famous YouTubers into millionaires and every mom with a food blog and a few thousand Instagram followers into a Betty Crocker brand endorser.

Although VaynerMedia went through the standard RFP process with NASCAR, their experience working with Anheuser-Busch on NASCAR related deliverables gave the association even more belief in what the agency could bring to the table.

“We were interested in bringing in a fresh set of eyes to look under the hood and help us see things maybe we weren’t seeing. Sometimes brands like ours need a different perspective to help us understand what we’re doing well, and where we should perhaps make some tweaks to our approach," said Patrick Rogers, Managing Director of Driver Marketing for NASCAR. “VaynerMedia had a great feel for what we’re looking to accomplish and introduced some really creative ideas on how we can dial in our strategy. Plus, they have experience with our sport having done incredible work with Anheuser-Busch."

“It’s important that we increase the visibility of our young stars. They are the future of the sport and they’re going to be highly successful, so let’s not wait until they’re winning consistently. Let’s build that visibility and their personal brands now, so that when they start winning more often on Sundays, people know who they are and already have a connection." – Patrick Rogers, Managing Director of Driver Marketing for NASCAR

At the start of the 2018 NASCAR season, pundits were worried about the popularity of the sport given the fact that some of its most visible stars had either retired or were planning on it. For NASCAR, the influx of youth talent on the track provided the association with a unique opportunity to capitalize on the digital native drivers and the millions of engaged followers many of them already have.

Unlike NBA, NHL, and even MLB players, NASCAR drivers are most visible on the track only once a week. Being able to leverage all the other time that the drivers are doing something, whether it’s traveling, being at practice, or even just hanging out became a massive potential opportunity for not only NASCAR as an association, but for its drivers, and its brands.

It was this opportunity that turned into one of the driving forces behind the investment in bringing on VaynerMedia.

“It’s really about all three. Drivers represent the face of NASCAR as well our biggest asset in terms of cultivating new fans," said Rogers. “If we can create even more meaningful connections between drivers and fans, it not only elevates the drivers’ profiles, it generates added value for the brands their associated with and the sport as a whole. A high tide raises all ships."

On the VaynerMedia side, the company saw the opportunity with NASCAR to integrate not only the media side of the business, but the talent side too, while building out a program that reached every aspect of the association.

“At VaynerMedia, we have best-in-class strategy, research, creative and media services that could help NASCAR frame up the opportunity," said Mickey Cloud, SVP and Head of VaynerMedia’s Chattanooga, TN office. “Those core strategic offerings, combined with VaynerTalent’s experience in helping high performing people develop social & digital content, own their narrative, build an engaged following online, and leverage that digital presence for whatever business objective they may have, became the heart of our pitch." More by Adam White

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