Redefining what is possible for how a brand can activate a title sponsorship.
When a brand chooses to become a title partner of an event, the entitlement sponsor, the game changes. Suddenly your brand owns the entire event and has the asset inventory to significantly impact the fan experience. Your brand is on a higher level and can act as a touch point all through the weekend.
It takes a special skillset to execute an event like this. There are hundreds of small details that all must be executed perfectly in real time to add up to something remarkable. When our clients at Pennzoil approached us with the opportunity they had been given to become the title sponsor of a NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, we were giddy with excitement. We had already brought their sister brand, Quaker State, to the main stage as title sponsors with their ongoing multi-year partnership with Kentucky Speedway and onto Atlanta Motor Speedway. Now was the time to take on Las Vegas and as it turns out, even Virtual Las Vegas.
With stakes this high, your first impression is critical. How will your brand improve the event experience? What is it like to go to the Pennzoil 400? How will you maximize the ROI on every new asset you have just acquired? These questions, along with many more, need to be addressed in less than one year's time. Unlike other areas of operation, there are firm and non-negotiable deadlines enforced for projects like this.
It is our job to remove superfluous choices to improve your internal efficiency and encourage strong decisions to better your positioning.
The 2021 Pennzoil 400 celebrations took a different form as we continue to overcome the lingering effects of the global pandemic. We wanted to create this one-of-a kind experience for partners, employees, customers and fans to have a glimpse and what it is like to be onsite at the fourth-annual event.
Leading up to race weekend, we engaged our customers with at-home experiences that included a Virtual Night in Vegas, live workouts with Joey Logano, custom gift boxes and much more. For the week leading up to the race, guests experienced behind the scenes access through virtual experiences in and around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway “Neon Garage,” a closer look at the No. 22 Pennzoil Ford Mustang race car, and even the opportunity to race against Joey Logano on the 1.5-mile virtual racetrack.
The event serves as the tentpole event of the year to engage customers, partners, employees and fans. Our core approach to the event stayed the same even with the restricted ability to bring people physically onsite. Since these restrictions limited our use of "traditional" assets, we translated them to be of use in the virtual space. We still wanted to bring some physical element to the experience.
This led us to develop various "Pennzoil 400's" in a box delivered just in time for guests to enjoy the bespoke Virtual Night in Las Vegas that included award-winning mixologists, exceptional Vegas-based talent, special customer messaging and much more.
Shell-Pennzoil is not doing any on-site activation this weekend during NASCAR’s stop at Las Vegas Motor Speedway because of pandemic restrictions, but it has set up an intricate all-virtual program for fans and would-be hospitality guests.
We turned race day into race week by activating multiple campaigns for multiple audiences on multiple different platforms. We recognize that even with the best content, the best program and the best platforms, if no one knows where to be and when then it is all for not.
As activations and audiences become more sophisticated, so too does our digital communication strategy. We created consisted, branded, personalized and actionable email campaigns targeted to the right audiences at the right time.
This led to a KPI-crushing 56% average open rate across the campaign.
Prior to event-based restrictions in place, our hospitality team managed a set budget, 20 individual vendors, 600 ticket requests and 580 hotel rooming requests. We designed a 200-person cocktail party overlooking the Las Vegas Strip for the top customers and leadership in attendance on the night before the race to leverage the importance of business networking at an event of this scale.
Our engagement numbers over-delivered on every KPI set in place and the event quickly became a "must" for sales teams and customer groups to activate year to year.
As an internal brand manager who has just inherited a truck load of new, exclusive, diverse and high-profile assets, it can be stressful to navigate all on your own. The first thing we did was take inventory of the assets and build out a use-case strategy for each one to make sure the right people received the right experience. That meant guiding sales contests, advising on in-store promotions and programs to reach beyond the racetrack and event weekend.
The next step was directing the design of the signage and at-track look & feel. While we continue shifting toward experiential and more sophisticated programming to maximize ROI, the branding guests see still needs to be perfect. To ensure internal communication about this direction stayed at the forefront, our business services team developed an internal-only microsite to manage thousands of asset requests from across the continent.
Adding in sophisticated virtual engagements increased the need for detail-orientated execution. Our team became the central hub for numerous production partners, associate sponsors, designers and content developers working to bring Las Vegas into thousands of living rooms simultaneously.
After it was all said and done, we sorted through the different campaigns and built the results into a beautiful, digital microsite recap. The follow up analysis allows us to continually optimize the experience and provide benchmarking goals for future programs.