It is said that “a brand is worthless unless it connects with the right audience in a relevant way.” Where do you find a huge swath of car loving, motor oil loving racing enthusiasts? Look no further than the Indy 500.
Sponsoring the Indy 500
D-A Lubricant Co. has been an Indiana brand since its founding in Lebanon, IN in 1919 and it has had a history with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway going back to the 1950s, sponsoring entries in the 500-mile race from 1955-1958.
The 100th running of the “500” was the perfect time for them to try something different with the race and have an official sponsor for the first time ever. As the chief marketing officer for D-A Lubricants, Klipsch Marketing Advisors (KMA) led the way in fulfilling needs from the speedway as well as D-A’s recently acquired brand, PennGrade Motor Oil.
“Once approached and we thought about it, we realized this would be a better fit for PennGrade in launching the brand,” KMA Vice President, Drew Coomes, said. “We knew we had to make a splash to raise awareness of the PennGrade brand since it has never existed before. The only difficulty was getting IMS to go with a brand that no one has heard. IMS is an iconic place, so they were looking for an iconic brand.”
The deal entailed a $5 million price tag that secures a sponsorship position for PennGrade for three years. Promotion was the next piece of the puzzle – how do we get people excited for the upcoming sponsorship?
“We had a really exciting press conference announcing PennGrade as the first-ever presenting sponsor for Indianapolis 500,” KMA Communications Director, Krystin Wiggs said. “We had a party at the Indiana State Museum with a red carpet, giant ice sculptures and it was very well attended! We had a ton of awesome coverage from both local and national media outlets.”
PennGrade executives were invited to watch the race from a different vantage point, placing the brand at the center of the race. They were able to take tours of the garages, pits and some days they were able to meet Graham or Bobby Rahal.
“When we had clients in the suite they had a once in lifetime view of the track. We were in the Pagoda on floor three, which has a balcony that extends out over the front straight away/finish line and is right next to victory circle,” KMA Partnership Coordinator Malia McGovern said. “Just being at the track is a once and a lifetime feel, many clients/guests have never been to IMS, so that made it special.”