You always hear about NASCAR’s legions of female fans and all the clever cross-promotional ideas and licensed products, but a recent Sports Illustrated article pulled it all together for me.
According to a pair of recent surveys, of NASCAR’s 75 million fans 40 percent are women. For every two new NASCAR fans, one of them is a woman. Women will spend $250 million on NASCAR-licensed products this year, and 68 percent of those women say they’re only going to become bigger NASCAR fans. And according to Nielsen, women are more likely to flip over to a NASCAR race than any sport outside of football.
Because I’m not in the NASCAR fan base myself, willing to buy $200+ shoes with logos and pink track apparel, I am all the more fascinated. What is NASCAR’s key to such incredible success with women?
Here’s an answer that may shock many of us working at Charlotte advertising agencies. They didn’t try.
The brand has not done backflips to find “women’s” angles. Rather, they have just delivered on their 50-year promise: viewing excitement and a growing and passionate community of like-minded people, with celebrity drivers who don’t stray too far from the fan base.
There’s a particular profile of men who become avid racing fans, and they are at the center of the NASCAR market (of course). Their enthusiasm is infectious. Their closest male and female friends/loved ones start to wonder... “hmmm, I’d like some of that in my life – let me check this out.”
Those people then start to watch it on television and maybe attend a race or two in-person. What they find is that NASCAR is (in theory) more than greenhouse-gas spewing cars going around a track in the hot sun. Apparently, it is a lifestyle with hundreds of thousands of people who love, follow, and enjoy talking about the sport - making it a central part of their lives.
Infectious enthusiasm is the name of this game.
The lesson for North Carolina advertising agencies? Don’t worry about marketing to women as a separate effort. Instead, build up a client’s brand among its passionate core and let the enthusiastic fan base sell the experience for you. When pink t-shirts and stiletto heels with logos develop “organically” – they are meant to be.
To learn more about the online and offline branding, marketing, and advertising services our agency offers, please visit the birdsong gregory website, contact Jim Cusson at 704-332-2299, or stop by the next time you’re in downtown Charlotte.