MAY 8, 2006
Those clever NASCAR folks
Many sponsors these days are looking for more than just exposure from their racing involvements and hope to engage with the public so that they feel good about the product and thus go out and buy more.
The Crown Royal whisky brand, owned by the giant Diageo company - parent company of McLaren sponsor Johnnie Walker - has come up with a great idea to engage NASCAR fans. The company has acquired the naming rights for a NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in early 2007 and has launched a "Your Name Here 400" competition that will result in a NASCAR fan being able to name the race as they wish. Thus the race could become the "John Doe 400". The winner will be announced at next year's Daytona 500 and there are likely to be millions of fans bidding the opportunity.
That idea might have been useful for F1 over the weekend as the Grand Prix was without a sponsor, although the Formula One group chose to take the naming rights for the race. While this may help the lawyers arguing that Formula One should be allowed to trademark the brand, it might have been more useful for the sport if there had been a competition to name the event.
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