Wednesday, August 31, 2011

NASCAR Launches College Brand Ambassador Program


Students at select colleges and universities will return to campuses this fall to find NASCAR brand ambassadors hosting events including viewing parties and trips to their local tracks to witness firsthand the thrill and excitement of NASCAR racing.

NASCAR U CREW, launched by NASCAR and managed with assistance and support from University Directories On Campus (UDOC), the leading campus media and marketing company in the United States, is designed to engage college students by establishing unique NASCAR events on campus and at the track. With the assistance of two brand ambassadors per school, NASCAR will be integrated into the college lifestyle of 12 colleges and universities in the 10 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup markets this fall.

"NASCAR, and the social component of watching and attending races, lends itself very nicely to the college lifestyle,” said NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps. “NASCAR U CREW will allow us to interact with college students across the country in a fun and relevant way, giving our current fans the avenue to express their passion and our future fans the vehicle to experience the sport.”

The 12 schools participating in the pilot program of NASCAR U CREW are: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; University of New Hampshire; University of Delaware; University of Kansas; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of North Carolina, Charlotte; Auburn University; Virginia Tech; University of North Texas; Arizona State University; Florida International University; and University of Miami.

NASCAR U CREW will complement another college-focused initiative that has also put the sport on campuses across the country in a relevant way. Launched in 2009, NASCAR Kinetics: Marketing in Motion, which has grown from four schools to 20 in less than three years, is a case study competition geared towards sports management students. NASCAR Kinetics focuses on professional development through experiential learning and continues to expose students across the country to various career paths in the motorsports industry.

NASCAR Kinetics and NASCAR U CREW, while innately different, are both geared towards increasing the sport’s brand awareness and product enthusiasm among college students. Season to date, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has averaged more than 750,000 viewers per race in the key 18-34 year-old demographic. NASCAR is using programs like NASCAR U CREW to energize this important demographic and expose the sport to potentially new college-aged fans.

“I am incredibly excited to be working as a college brand ambassador for NASCAR because I believe this entire demographic has huge potential to become big fans of the sport,” said Madison Phillips, NASCAR U CREW college brand ambassador at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “NASCAR is a fast-paced, high intensity, adrenalin rush, and that is exactly why it is already so popular with 18-34 year olds. It’s a sport for the young and adventurous, and we just have to open more college students’ eyes to it."

Responsible for establishing and executing at least 10 unique NASCAR events and integrating the sport into existing campus events, each school’s two brand ambassadors will also be charged with working closely with their respective track to create and promote a college ticket package as well as a designated hospitality/tailgate area for local students. In addition to holding unique, customizable events on campus and at track, the NASCAR brand ambassadors, who are current college students, will also be responsible for helping promote the sport and the local track through digital and social media, promotional materials and traditional sources of media.

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