Mars Inc. was honored Thursday with the 2012 NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards, held at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. Throughout its 23-year partnership, Mars has directly engaged race fans, customers and associates through an integrated marketing strategy that spanned across multiple activations, including: intellectual property, promotions, public relations, B2B, online, broadcast, event marketing and retail. The partnership represents one of the longest standing within the sport.
“Mars’ execution of a fully integrated strategy within NASCAR exemplifies the spirit of the award and has been the catalyst to the brand’s success in the sport,” said Jim O’Connell, chief sales officer for NASCAR. “One of our longest standing partners took full advantage of its sponsorship, raising the bar with innovative ideas designed to engage our brand-loyal fan base, its associates and ultimately move product off the shelf.”
In a recent study, it was revealed that Mars receives an impressive 4-to-1 return on its investment in NASCAR (measured by Mars tracking data). Additionally, its sponsorships create a fifth season of sales for the brand, which is on par with the size of the company’s Christmas selling season.
“The NASCAR sponsorship model is driven by brand loyalty, and Mars has been behind the wheel of a best-in-class partnership,” said William Clements, VP of sponsorships and sports marketing for Mars Chocolate North America. “Our successes have been led by innovation that extends to customers, consumers and associates, and capitalizes on NASCAR’s broad fan base that represents approximately one-third of the U.S. adult population. We are honored by this award and continue to see the strength and growth of our partnership with NASCAR.”
In 2012, Mars executed several integrated marketing initiatives designed to reach its three key stakeholders—customers, consumers and associates—in an effort to extend beyond the iconic M&M’S paint scheme. The following initiatives have resulted in Mars and its family of brands becoming some of the most recognized in the sport:
• Conducted consumer-centric promotions like the current “M&M’S When We Win, You Could Win Sweepstakes” that energizes customers and engages fans;
• Pioneered the now popular TV panel program that places the logo of key retailers on the rear “TV panel” of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota to drive exposure and incremental sales;
• Made race day more fun with the “Best Seats in the House” program, providing fans with the ultimate seat upgrade at select tracks in the series;
• Engaged associates with dedicated NASCAR ambassadors to celebrate the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota successes and team news; and
• Hosted NASCAR Day at Mars Chocolate North America’s headquarters in Hackettstown, N.J., featuring Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) owner Joe Gibbs, Kyle Busch and the entire No. 18 M&M’s Toyota team.
Each year, NASCAR recognizes an industry partner who has exemplified the spirit of NASCAR through integrated marketing campaigns for all racing fans, consumers and employees. Previous winners of the NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award include: Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, ESPN, FOX/TNT/NBC, Gillette, Kmart, Nationwide Insurance, Office Depot, Sprint, The Home Depot and Toyota.
In the featured photo at top: William Clements, VP of sponsorships and sports marketing for Mars Chocolate North America, right, is presented with the 2012 NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards held Thursday at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. (Photo/Getty Images)