We have long been fans of the somewhat cliché idea of 2+2=5. This is what happens when you put together two seemingly similar categories of things and end up with more than the sum of their parts. This strategy becomes available to brands that have assets in multiple different categories, sports, or media types.
Your brand likely falls in that category even if you have to think about things a bit differently. Some partnerships make more sense than others to integrate, like the one we are going to spotlight here, but this concept works across a variety of ways.
The integration strategy
Certain circumstances brought this opportunity to life for us in 2019 (and a lot of 2018 as well). Our clients at Shell-Pennzoil along with our friends at Team Penske had a remarkable, record-setting year across their many disciplines of motorsports. Multiple championships and major race wins on the biggest stages. This top-tier level of performance was aching to be celebrated.
The platform to house the celebration came at Charlotte Motor Speedway's ROVAL NASCAR Cup race. With the IndyCar championship finishing up just a week before that resulting in Josef Newgarden's second career championship for Team Penske, why not continue the festivities with Team Penske in NASCAR?
This brings a new audience to NASCAR, and it showcases Josef's and the team's accomplishments. Most importantly for us, it highlights the common thread between all of it - our clients at Shell-Pennzoil as the primary sponsors of Team Penske.
We integrated these assets by having Josef drive an exhibition lap in an IndyCar on the same track NASCAR uses. It was the first time an IndyCar was ever on the innovative ROVAL circuit and it got a lot of people to reignite the question…will there be a doubleheader weekend and collaboration between the two series?
Leading media across sports properties got word pretty quick and were excited to share. Jamie Little and Bob Pockrass from FOX Sports, Adam Stern from Sports Business Journal, NBC Sports, Formula 1's Will Buxton and racing star Max Papis thought this was "epic." Even Mario Andretti, the most famous name in all of racing, couldn't help mentioning how much fun this was.
Josef got excited as well. Like the double champion that he is, he even requested simulator time ahead of the big day to prepare. What a legend.
"It’s a very very cool opportunity that Shell has provided us to do something to showcase their involvement with Team Penske and everything that we’ve done together."
This conversation that resulted may be part of that extra value gained in our 2+2=5 example. It may happen, it may not, but it is worth the discussion to see what the stakeholders (especially the fans) would find the most compelling.
The mechanics of the integration
It is all relatively simple and straightforward in theory. It is always our goal to make activations look effortless and organic, which we believe was accomplished on this occasion as well. The reality of this project was thanks to some great people and great relationships in the small world that is motorsports.
We were able to be the glue between different series, tracks, drivers, teams, brands, properties, rights and the works. Each of these stakeholders has a different objective because they are appealing to various segments of the market. It is up to us to communicate these value points and make sure everyone considers this a win, win, win, win, win, win and win, respectively.
Timeliness was also paramount. This had to be right away and we made it happen five days after Josef's win on the complete opposite side of the US. Many, many thanks go out to a great group of people that worked overtime to pull off the logistics, scheduling, safety checks and other requirements in place to make this successful.
Projects like this can get hectic, but it is also meant to be fun. It is a celebration of a great achievement between remarkable, long-standing partners. You can wrap that visual up with Pennzoil's quick season summary below.
Congratulations to Shell-Pennzoil, Team Penske and of course Josef Newgarden. It's a pleasure to work with you all.