I have been passionate about motorsport since 1970, when I was five years old. Back then, when I was a kid at school, we used to have butcher shops to buy our meat at, bakeries to buy our bread, milk was delivered by the milkman, and most moms stayed at home because dad’s income was enough to support a young family, including buying the family home.
The mantra for sponsorship in the early seventies was; “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday”. This phrase originally came from the auto manufacturers, if a Ford won on Sunday, the story goes, sales of Ford cars would be up the following week. Of course that mantra was applicable to the sponsors names on the side of the race car too.
Things are different now.
We don’t get our milk delivered, it takes at least two incomes to buy a family home, the world has changed. So has sponsorship. Marketing, full stop, has changed. People make purchasing decisions for different reasons now. So why do so many in motorsports, and other sports, still try to sell sponsorship on the value of the signage? In my opinion the space on the side of the car, or the banner on the start line is worth far less than the car owner or track owner believes it is worth. That is not where the value in a sponsorship is in today’s market.
Have a look at the photo above. That photo is taken at a typical racetrack, from a typical spectators position, of a typical Dragster. There are 19 individual companies signs in full view in that photo. It has become expected by the spectator that the race car and track will be adorned with signage. In fact it has become so expected that the average spectator doesn’t even notice the signage.
So where is the value in a sponsorship today? If the spectators are not even noticing the signage on the side of the race car or on the track, what can be done with a sponsorship to ensure it is a valuable investment? Answering those questions, as well as other random thoughts on marketing in general will be the focus of my columns here on Rapid Time News.