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WHY Pork beat Beef in the Promotion Arena....every time!

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Well-known member
Feb 11, 2005
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The article below was in the Feb 2005 issue of Promo Magazine. This publication is owned by Primedia. ( Primedia owns BEEF ) I would suggest a few members of this board go to the PORK website and look at PORK RACING pages. If anybody hasn't told you....we are losing market share to PORK. As we have more diverse cultures entering the USA we will lose more ground to "the other white meat" and GOAT!! Our industry is not looking to far down the road in ways to get more market share of the "meat dollar" ............ :???:

NASCAR races are a marketer's dream. Forget about rivalries like Ohio State vs. Michigan, or the Celtics vs. the Lakers. In NASCAR, you've got Tide trying to beat Budweiser while Cheerios and M&Ms are trying to run them both into a wall. Mega-brands trying to destroy each other — talk about sports imitating life.

Auto-racing fans are more than just loyal. According to a Performance Research study, 72% of NASCAR fans purchase products based on manufacturer involvement in the sport, vs. 38% for Major League Baseball, and 36% for the NFL. They come to watch too; Lord, how they come. Several events generate live gates in excess of 200,000 fans. These are fans who spend the better part of a day at the race, eating, buying merchandise and taking in special race-day events, to say nothing about watching the race.

Chris Connolly, the VP-marketing for Hasbro and its Winner's Circle brand in 2000, was looking for a promotion to launch his 2001 collection. Winner's Circle was primarily comprised of 1/64 scale diecast model NASCAR vehicles that were mostly sold in blister packs. Hasbro had the license from Action Performance to sell the toys to mass merchandisers; Action had all other channels. The thinking was that Hasbro's penetration in the mass merch channel would generate greater sales than Action could realize alone.

The NASCAR organization understands commercialism better than the front office of any other sport. Originally, sales of its collectibles were limited since the cars themselves changed very little from year to year. NASCAR management solved this problem by having each team update its car's paint scheme annually before the first race. Each prior year's official T-shirt became as outré as last year's Paris fashions — and it did the same for diecast racing collectibles.

In 2000, Connally wanted Winner's Circle products to get off to a faster start than those of any of his rivals in the diecast business. He had a definite advantage: Hasbro owned the exclusive diecast rights to the vehicles of Dale Earnhardt.

Earnhardt was the workingman's champion, and he earned his nickname, "The Intimidator," every time he entered a race. The interesting thing about Earnhardt was that at any race at least half the fans hated him. The other half, however, adored him — and bought his merchandise so fervently that by 2000, his name was on about 40% of all driver merchandise sold. His presence alone guaranteed the success of any product or line that he associated with, and he was savvy enough to never sell himself or his team cheaply.

Unlike any other sport, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit launches its season with its biggest event: the Daytona 500. For the 2000 opener, Action suggested Earnhardt change the paint scheme of his all-black No. 3 car to an all-red design that featured Warner Brothers Tasmanian Devil cartoon character on the hood. Action reasoned (correctly) that Earnhardt's millions of fans would sweep up these one-of-a-kind "Taz" cars and still buy the traditional black No. 3 iteration of that year's car for their collections.

"We thought owning an actual piece of Dale Earnhardt's race car was a huge idea," recalled Connolly. "We figured we could cut up a car and get at least several thousand 1-inch squares of sheet metal from it." Hasbro's idea was to create a "chase product," a product that collectors would chase from store to store, in an effort to find one with the square of metal and its accompanying certificate of authenticity. The chase product itself would be randomly seeded in cases distributed to Hasbro's mass merchandiser accounts, and would carry the same $4.99 price point as the line's regular product. The trick, however, was finding it.

The owner of Dale Earnhardt's team was former driver Richard Childress. A barely mediocre driver, he will go down in racing history as one of the greatest team owners to ever to grace a racetrack, and the architect of Earnhardt's success. Hasbro approached Childress Racing and asked to buy the red Taz car. A price was negotiated and the car — sans engine — was shipped to a metal shop in Indiana. It was met by the Hasbro engineering team, which had to figure out how to reduce one car into thousands of collectable pieces.

As Connolly remembers, "the whole thing was a reverse of the classic situation, in that the parts in this case were going to be worth far more to us than their sum." Hasbro cut just over 2,000 pieces o' car using an industrial jigsaw. Each of these pieces was glued to a certificate of authenticity signed by Connolly, Childress and NASCAR head Bill France testifying that: "The piece of metal contained within this case is a piece of race-used sheet metal from the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo Taz body, driven by Dale Earnhardt. Dale Earnhardt drove this car in the 2000 Daytona 500. This is certified authentic by Richard Childress Racing, Hasbro and NASCAR."

The Hasbro team was so excited by the Earnhardt project that they leveraged the idea to create lesser chase products: cut up driving suits from drivers Bobby LaBonte and Rusty Wallace, along with race-used lug nuts from other cars.

When the Taz product rolled out in January of 2001 it was, as Connolly summarized it, "the biggest promotional event in the history of the industry." Hasbro backed the promotion with print ads in the leading industry journals, as well as a dedicated p.r. campaign.

"For fans of Dale Earnhardt and the No. 3 car, this was almost akin to a religious artifact," Connolly says.

The 2001 Daytona 500 was run on Sunday Feb. 18. On the last turn of the last lap, with the finish line in sight, Earnhardt's teammates Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were in first and second place, with Dale Sr. in third, blocking. Suddenly, he spun his car out of control and hit the retaining wall, killing him instantly.

The death of Dale Earnhardt had a huge impact on merchandise sales. Within hours, his fans had wiped the shelves clean of anything bearing his image. The sports world had never seen anything like the national outpouring of grief that accompanied the death of Dale Eanhardt.

It's a measure of Earnhardt's popularity that racing remains staggered by his loss four years after the fact. ESPN ran a made-for-TV movie of his life, entitled 3, this past December. The film was the second highest-rated film shown all year on any channel.

Dale Earnhardt would not have been satisfied if he'd lived to see that result. He always claimed that "second place is just first loser."

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