The process of seeing more than one company on a car developed gradually as NASCAR’s costs soared. The tandem that first really caught my eye was Darrell Waltrip’s No. 11 with Budweiser and KFC. I don’t know if the Zac Brown Band has Waltrip in mind when they sing, “Chicken fried, and cold beer on a Friday night,” but regardless, the combo works in song and signage.
I wish all the pairings had the same symmetry. Did you by any chance catch a glimpse of Aric Almirola’s Ford Fusion between the cloud bursts at Pocono? On the deck lid, Almirola’s Smithfield Foods, with the not-so-subtle suggestion “EAT HAM!” under it.
On the lower quarterpanel? TrimFit Weight Loss Water.
Need I say more?
Saturday, Kyle Busch Motorsports bagged sponsorship from GNC, a nutritional supplement chain, for Denny Hamlin’s Camping World Truck Series race? Under the logo was the catchphrase, “LIVE WELL”.
On the back TV panel? M&Ms, of course.
At least I know if there’s a rekindling of the Hallelujah Supper Club, they can kick-start their marketing campaign by working a deal with the Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull.
On one hand, it’s hard to chastise anybody for this. M&Ms scooped up that TV panel for the season knowing that Busch still had room in his truck sponsorship inventory.
Smithfield agreed to come on board with Almirola for 15 races, but some additional cash had to come from somewhere.
It just seems like there’s a little laziness in this process. I would hope that KBM at least broached the idea of talking to M&Ms about relinquishing their spot for this one race. KBM could have reimbursed them with some kind of extra signage during one of the Dollar General races. (When people go into Dollar General and buy M&M’s, Dollar General makes money. It could have been worked out.)
On the same vein, did Smithfield absolutely have to be on that deck lid Sunday? The company wasn’t even the primary sponsor for Pocono. And Almirola has been forced to run with a house ad, Richard Petty Motorsports’s primary owner Medallion Financial, more than once because of sponsorship gaps. So there were definitely opportunities to supplement Smithfield, allowing them to sell ham without a nearby sponsor making its clientele feel guilty.
Generally when I write about sponsorship I get a whole lot of “Who cares?” responses.
Well, you should care. When marketing campaigns look like they could be in a “Saturday Night Live” skit, there’s a very good chance they won’t work. Then those companies leave the sport.
Then we get more entries that run three laps.
And, late night comedy show resemblance notwithstanding, that’s not the least bit funny.
What weird sponsor combos, past or present, have you noticed? Reach me on Twitter @JoshNASCARWWE.