5-Hour Energy’s NASCAR Deal A Game-Changer For Brand

Clint Bowyer was sponsored by 5-Hour Energy

Becoming a sponsor of Michael Waltrip Racing’s Sprint Cup Series team in '12 helped 5-Hour Energy generate close to $30M in retail sales. The deal allowed the company to get major displays in Walmart, and create a program in which retailers were able to place their logo on the 5-Hour Energy car’s deck lid in exchange for prominent displays of 5-Hour Energy in their retail outlets. That allowed the company to justify its more than $10M sponsorship of the car and team. Speaking at the ’12 Motorsports Marketing Forum, 5-Hour Energy President & COO Scott Henderson said, “This is probably the second biggest spend outside of our general TV advertising. It’s a big deal to us."

According to research firm Joyce Julius, 5-Hour Energy got more than $200M of media exposure, and that was about double their entire media budget for the year. Henderson: “Even if you put a fudge factor on there and cut it by 10 percent or something, it’s definitely worth it."

5-Hour Energy got its start in NASCAR in ‘08 after getting a call from Rusty Wallace Racing. The company started with four races in the Nationwide Series and added four more races later in the season. It expanded to a full season in ‘09, added hospitality events in ‘10 and ‘11 and then signed a Sprint Cup sponsorship with Michael Waltrip Racing before the ‘12 season.

The company took a different approach to sponsorship than most brands. Rather than choosing a team, it chose a driver in Clint Bowyer and followed him from Richard Childress Racing to Michael Waltrip Racing.

Living Essentials Exec VP/Sales Rise Meguiar, whose company makes 5-Hour Energy, said, “We didn’t want a logo just to be slapped on a car. The driver selection was very important. The main thing was they had to believe in the product, be an advocate for the product and use the product."

5-Hour Energy did a single ad for the year that showed Bowyer doing a range of activities, from bow hunting to riding a motorcycle to riding a jet ski.

Henderson said, “One of the things we learned for next year is we need to shoot a couple of extra (commercials). You get limited days with your talent so we have to work that out."

The company also did four paint schemes in October to raise breast cancer awareness and promoted a special product that raised more than $350,000 for the Avon Foundation for Women’s Breast Cancer Crusade. Henderson: “All of those things were really good and they helped us sell more product. NASCAR was really helpful to us moving more product in that way." SportsBusiness Journal

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