Renaming the Brickyard 400
Since 2006, NASCAR and Crown Royal have partnered to create a campaign that aims at engaging loyal fans of both stock car racing and Crown Royal. The program creates an opportunity for fans to submit names of deserving individuals in their communities — from this list of recommendations, a winning hero is selected. The hero is then celebrated by the Brickyard 400 being renamed in their honor.
In 2013 NASCAR and Crown Royal came to UNION to help improve the digital marketing elements of the promotion. For UNION, this was a great opportunity. NASCAR is a great client and our team immersed itself in this good cause. Laddering off of the NASCAR.com digital platform experience, we crafted a comprehensive promotional microsite with a consistent look and feel and a seamless user experience that was fit for royalty.
The Fan Experience Was Key
The objectives and goals of the program were clear to our team: leverage everything we know about racing fans to craft a comprehensive and strategic cross-promotional brand experience while ensuring that the stature of the Crown Royal brand was well represented. Further, fans of NASCAR needed to immediately recognize that this was a top-tier promotion offered by the racing series.
We crafted wireframes to show a UX strategy that allows race fans to nominate deserving heroes in an easy-to-use and intuitive user experience. In addition to identifying a deserving hero, we wanted the technology to capture the interest and insights of participants and create additional promotional opportunities for the brands. Basically, we wanted the site to be as incredible as the people it was honoring.
Designing the Contest
Whether at the race or in the home, digital experiences for race fans must adapt to multiple devices.
The design harnessed our UX strategy and existing visual brand elements from both Crown Royal and NASCAR. While the microsite was developed outside of the NASCAR.com platform, our team designed the platform in a way that made the microsite appear as if it was a part of the NASCAR.com platform — creating a seamless user experience.
The end result was a responsive promotional microsite that was socially enabled and leveraged both the Crown Royal and NASCAR Facebook fan base to generate participation and direct users to the contest.
Who's Your Hero?
The promotional platform socialized hero nominations, voting and post-contest announcements. The site also provided opt-in marketing opportunities to both brands, in essence cultivating more value from the social landscape.Nominate Your HeroVideo ShowcaseVote for a Deserving Hero
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To promote the microsite (and contest), Crown Royal ran TV spots during NASCAR races and UNION created display ads that were featured on NASCAR.com. The Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of both brands were also leveraged to promote the contest within the social space. It was a successful and collaborative multi-team effort that drove significant traffic to the microsite.
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Meet the 2013 Winner
Samuel Deeds, a U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant from Erlanger, KY, won the hearts and minds of 2013 program participants. As the winner, Sam was honored on July 28, 2013, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by having the Brickyard 400 renamed as the Samuel Deeds 400.
While a Marine Corps sergeant stationed in Iraq, Deeds discovered an improvised explosive device (IED) while setting up a vehicle checkpoint. With fellow Marines approaching his direction and that of the IED, Sam exposed himself to the explosive, risking himself to save others. He was severely injured and underwent an extensive medical recovery and rehabilitation process.
Three years later, while still recovering from his IED injuries, Deeds sprung into action again, saving the lives of three individuals caught in a riptide off the coast of North Carolina.
At the pre-race ceremony Deeds said:
This is a huge honor. I’ve been a fan of NASCAR forever, and to have it here at Indy is great. These days have been very good, very long, a lot of fun… This is awesome. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my day. Hopefully we will have a good, clean day and a great, great day of racing.