Aaron’s Signs Two-Year Deal With MWR (Update)

UPDATE SPORTING NEWS' Bob Pockrass wrote yesterday's announcement that Brian Vickers will drive the '14 and '15 Sprint Cup seasons with full-season backing from Aaron's "was nowhere near a foregone conclusion, and far from a rubber stamp." Aaron’s "has a CEO who is 18 months on the job, and a chief marketing officer who joined the company in January." Vickers "got off to a good-but-not-great start to the season," and Hendrick Motorsports is "courting Aaron's to pour more money into 17-year-old Chase Elliott’s career."

Vickers said, "Educating them on who I was, educating themselves on the sport and MWR was a long process with a lot of unknowns." Pockrass noted Vickers "had to work off the track — he attended the Aaron's national sales meeting, where he got to know the Aaron's brass." SPORTINGNEWS.com

08/13/13 Michael Waltrip Racing today announced that Aaron's has signed a two-year deal to sponsor the No. 55 Toyota driven by Brian Vickers for all 36 Sprint Cup races in '14-15, making Vickers "one of the rare drivers in NASCAR's premier series with a full-time sponsor," according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY.

Aaron's, which has "partnered with Michael Waltrip Racing for the past 14 years, will be increasing its commitment from 30 races this season." Aaron's CEO Ron Allen said, "This really solidifies our relationship because it's certainly more recognition for our brand if we can get in the Chase. This gives us a better chance by sponsoring a full 36 races." Ryan reports Aaron's "re-examined its NASCAR sponsorship while overhauling its executive team over the past 18 months."

But Aaron's VP/Marketing Andrea Freeman said that the "research justified its investment." Allen said, "We're constantly evaluating our marketing dollar spend, and we feel this certainly continues to make a lot of sense for us. This is really a sport that's put Aaron's on the map nationwide, and we're proud of that fact. We think by going to the full 36 races, it gives us that much more clout." Ryan notes Vickers' "comeback story also helped sell Aaron's on the deal."

Vickers missed the final 25 Cup races in '10 "while recovering from blood clots and heart surgery," then lost his ride in '11 "after Red Bull Racing closed." Vickers won the Cup race July 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, something that Aaron's Dir of Sports Marketing Rich Lamprey said "certainly helped" in finalizing the new deal. Lamprey did not specify "whether Aaron's would be increasing its financial commitment to NASCAR." USATODAY.com

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