Busch Beer ran an impactful 500 to the 500 promotion, bringing 500 fans to Sunday’s running of The Great American Race; the 2018 Daytona 500. The lucky winners received flights, hotel and airfare, as well as a chance to meet and take a photo with Kevin Harvick. JohnWallStreet was in Daytona Beach and got a chance to speak with both Kevin Harvick and Daniel Blake (Busch Beer’s Brand Manager) about the promotion just hours before the race.
JWS: You agreed to travel from Daytona Beach to Orlando (50+ miles, then back), the night before the biggest race of the season to meet your fans. Why did you agree to do that?
Kevin: I would say this unique because it is such a big promotion and Busch put so much into it; it was also planned way in advance. It’s an opportunity to have more interaction with the fans than you would walking through the garage or at the racetrack, because you are in competition mode. As long as I can manage my time and know what I’m getting into, I’m good with it. I’m also in Daytona Beach by myself, my family doesn’t come in until tomorrow; and I like to do stuff to take my mind off things, anyways.
JWS: You mentioned that if a sponsor is willing to put the time and effort into a promotion of this size, it’s certainly worth your while to participate; regardless of how close it is to the race. How does it benefit you?
Kevin: The biggest pop of the season, from a marketing and exposure standpoint, is going to come in the first 6 weeks. The majority of your souvenir sales, unless you win the championship, happen in the first 2 weeks. You can follow the TV ratings and everything that happens within the sport. The bigger you make this week, the bigger the next 5 weeks are.
JWS: Busch Beer had a Super Bowl ad in 2017. In 2018, you re-allocated those funds (1/3 of the marketing budget) to do this event. Why did you make that decision?
Blake: The timing. NASCAR’s biggest event of the year is at the start of the season and we wanted our biggest promotion to be at the start of the season as well. There’s no better way to do that than sending 500 fans to the Daytona 500, for one of the most memorable experiences of their life. It’s not just a once in a lifetime racing experience, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some of these fans to get out of their hometowns, to see Florida, to get on a plane and to meet new people with a common interest.
JWS: How do you gauge the success (or lack thereof) of a campaign like this?
Blake: Social buzz and impressions, volume sales and shares are another; but, for something like this it’s more intangible. It’s difficult to measure sending 500 fans on a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but those are the type of things that resonate and hopefully compound. They (the winners) tell their friends and family about the brand and the great experience they had here.
Howie Long-Short: Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) reported its value brand portfolio, led by the Busch brand family, performed well in both Q2 and Q3 ’17. Busch has a loyal consumer base and its brands require minimal investment; positive news for a company that has watched Budweiser fall out of the Top 3 in U.S. sales (Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite are the Top 3, Budweiser is 4th).
Fan Marino: Fans that pulled checkered cans from packages of Busch and Busch Light, were then asked to submit videos expressing their enthusiasm for both the brand and their interest in attending the Daytona 500. Christina Pin was among the 250 winners (each got to bring a guest) and brought her husband to the race. I asked Christina to describe the video that got her selected and her reaction when she found out she had won.
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