Tag Archives: Sponsorship

Who’s a happy boy?…

PT was like a kid in a candy store this morning as he unveiled his new car for the Honda Indy Toronto!
Even Jimmy was full of smiles!
I too couldn’t wipe the grin off my face.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing Paul so happy and knowing that he will be racing in the next two races I will be attending.
He looks great! He’s dropped some weight, looks rested and focused and happy. He was very comfortable and laid back this morning.

Patti (his wife) looks equally great and happy and I hear Viv is coming to the race, which will make my year. (nothing more fun than hangin in the pits with PT’s mom)
Hopefully CJ will make an appearance too.

Since this was a reveal for Paul as well, it was fun to watch his reaction when he saw the car. He even ran back up to the podium and made them turn the mic on so he could speak some more. VERY un PT like action that is! (not fond of public speaking) He just gushed about the car and the race and how proud he is of his car and to be back racing in Toronto.

For the first time, I’m actually excited for this race and feel like it’s coming. It sure as hell isn’t because of the “buzz” in the city.

When I asked Charlie J if this was the kick off to some serious promotion now as so far it’s the best kept secret in town, I got the standard PR answer of “well I’ve heard nothing but the opposite”. Bullshit.
Norris MacDonald came to my rescue and called him on the “PR” answer. If there has been major promotion going on, I sure as hell haven’t seen it. (other than Honda Dealer ads, which quite frankly promote Honda, not the race)

Apparently there is a huge promotional thing happening for two days the week before the race at Dundas Square.
Ya… newsflash… promoting a supposed international racing event 5 days before the event is not “huge promotion”

I actually feel sorry for Charlie. He busted his ass for this race for years. I imagine his hands are tied and he just has to tow the party line, but man… who does he think he’s fooling? I live here man! I remember all the events I went to prior to the races in previous years and all the promotion.

As I already alluded to earlier in my blackberry drive-by, the issue of the run off’s was also brought up and denied. Again, we will see.
I also laid that juicy tidbit of information at the feet of those paid to write and report, so we’ll see if they dig up anything to the contrary.
Again, I hope it was just a silly rumour, because it will be a disaster if not. I asked Paul about his thoughts on it. When I get home (yes I’m still at work as I put in some extra hours to cover the time I took for the Press conference) I’ll transpose the quotes.
(I felt like such a dork sticking a digital recorder in front of Paul… we both actually chuckled at the weirdness of it)

anyway… here is a wee gallery of snaps from today. My flash died (of course) and we were in a fricken shitty lit Military hanger… so it is what it is…

KV/PT unveiling

legal schmeegle…

Are you kidding me? The brain trust at Red Bull have sic’d their legal beagles on a fan.


That’s right. Someone took the time to set up a blog a few months ago to celebrate, promote and support their favorite Formula 1 team and along with it the sponsor, and got rewarded with a cease and desist letter, on the eve of the first race of the 2009 season, thus sucking the joy of the sport right out of the lad, and his readership.

Their reasoning? “Potentially, this could confuse members of the public”
Yes, the quiet beige and blue wordpress blog titled: “the red bullog: An unofficial blog on Red Bull Racing” could easily be misconstrued as the official website of the multi-mega bazillion dollar company.

The only thing that truly confuses me is how cushy things must be at the office that THIS is what their legal team is getting paid to waste time on.

I have to wonder when the suits at these various companies, series, teams, etc… are going to remove their craniums from their rectums long enough to realize that ultimately it’s the FANS that are their bread and butter? Especially right now.

Alienate the fans, you lose. Period. You’ll have a bunch of shiny cars, covered in shiny sponsor stickers, driving around in front of lots of shiny aluminum.

This chap, in addition to falling silent now, will likely rethink his future purchases of A) Red Bull B) Red Bull team swag of any sort C) race tickets D) many other loosely related objects & events related to Red Bull or F1.

In addition to that, his friends, who he likely would have prodded and begged to get on board to support all of the above, will now most likely no longer do so, taking their support and their money elsewhere. Perhaps to another team, energy drink, hell maybe another sport all together.

On top of that the word of mouth, now negative instead of positive, will grow and travel like a virus. (it’s already happening) I didn’t know about this fella or his blog this morning. But I do now. For all the wrong reasons.
Do I see him as the bad guy? Nope.
He’s just another one of us here in the trenches supporting the sport he loves.
Do I feel a little differently about Red Bull than I did this morning? Hell ya.

In this economy, when everyone is tightening their belts, and cutting back on perceived “frivolous” purchases, isn’t it in a companies best interest to sit back and enjoy the free publicity and the grassroots ground swell of support from fans of their products or the programs their products support and thus reap the benefit of?

There are no ad banners on his site. No sales of swag with illegal usage of logos. No monitizing of any sort.

Just a fan, taking time out of his schedule to promote the series/team/drivers to other current and potential fans.

Perhaps they need to take a page out of the VERSUS playbook. Not only do they not mind if we mention or promote their station and it’s wares, but they are actually reaching out to the fans, in particular those of us with blogs and encouraging us to spread the word, providing us with banners to display and link to them, as well as swag to give away. They understand the value of not only the entire social media/word of mouth phenomenon, but also the value of a happy, supportive fan base. Hell, I can’t even GET VERSUS here in Canada, but I’m so thrilled that they are providing my fellow racing enthusiasts with a well thought out product offering, that I am gladly participating in spreading the word.

Dan, I don’t know you buddy, but I think it’s pretty sucky that you’ve been treated the way you have. If you ever want a place to scream and shout, contact me. I’ll give you a “guest spot” here in Shwitville! LOL

You can’t handle the truth!…

or can you?

I’ve been mulling this one around for a while now, and as we get deeper into the depths of the silliness that is silly season, mired knee deep in rumours and hearsay and bad news, I thought I would purge the brain and perhaps start up a conversation with y’all to see how you feel about it. Bear with me as this is going to be pure stream of consciousness…

This stems from a couple of incidents this week. Firstly, the not so surprising report that Rahal Letterman may or may not, but probably not, but they don’t want to say No just yet, so they’re going with ‘we’re still working on it”, but who are we kidding, it’s probably not going to happen, and if it does, it’ll only be for the 500, proving once again that the business model for this series is all wrong cause it’s crazy to market an entire team/season around one race… and…. wait, I lost my train of thought…

where was I? Oh ya, there was a big kurfuffel over an AP article that hit the newswires on Thursday. An innocent little 2 paragraph note saying that RLR was likely not going to answer the bell in 09.

Well, as always happens with these AP articles, it got picked up almost instantly by everyone and their brother… and their brothers brother. In the process it got misread and re-titled and the sky was falling and the series folding and… well you get the picture.

When it landed in my hands, it came as no shock to me, as I had just had a conversation with the PR guru at RLR, wherein he had told me pretty much the same thing. “Nothing is set, it’s not looking good, but we’ve not given up yet” So when I presented this “breaking news” to the 100 or so people that religiously follow OWW.net (we’re hoping to kick those numbers up a notch this season!) I was careful to use journalistic buzz words like “allegedly”. I was also able to dig into my personal stash of correspondence and add another quote lending credence to the story while supporting the “we’re not dead yet” theory.
Of course I still willingly wrote an amendment to the story immediately when the RLR team went into spin control about an hour later.

Yesterday a couple of other tidbits hit the interweb rumourmill highway. As one involved a friend, I immediately reached out to clarify the story. Turns out it was much ado about nothing and I was asked to nip it in the bud if possible. I won’t repeat it as we all know how broken telephone works.

I will say as well though that I do believe where there is smoke there is fire… this is inbred in me from years of being a Champ Car fan and proclaiming “it’s only a flesh wound” while series bled to death before our very eyes… but I digress..

So here’s the thing… every week there seems to be a one step forward/two steps back situation. Every week another little “hey didja hear??” rumour makes it to the surface (both positive and negative) and rides off in an internet air bubble… to be popped sooner or later by the fickle finger of truth.

So what’s better? Blind faith that the season will happen, while we swat at the rumour bubbles, or a consistent, controlled message, released by the teams/drivers themselves. (and here is where we get to the actual purpose of this long winded ramble-a-thon)

I believe, especially in this economic climate, and especially after years of both sides of the split riding the precarious “will they or won’t they answer the bell” fence, that it is important for everyone; teams, drivers, series, to stay ahead of the rumours and control the message.
The off season is a breeding ground for negativity and doubt. Sure we all know in the back of our minds that things slow down, people get laid off, sponsors fall away… because we’ve been through it season after season. And season after season we laugh it all off at the first race when the green flag waves.

But what of the new fans who aren’t aware of this? What of potential sponsors who may be interested but are put off by the spinning and beeping of the backpeddling news stories?

Wouldn’t it be nice to get a little weekly or heck, how about monthly updates from the shops themselves. “we’re on our annual break, the crew has been let go temporarily as a cost cutting measure, but we are confident that come (Jan? Feb?) we will regroup to prepare for the season ahead” blahdy blah blah… or a brief Q&A with the team owner reflecting on the past season and their hopes for the one ahead.. How about a “hey isn’t our sponsor great!?” article. You know the kind of thing that there is no time for during the season or would get buried by all the other news, but in the off season would be a nice thank you to the sponsors that are still sticking it out, and would act like a big dangling carrot to sponsors that are on the fence.

I personally am a “give it to me straight” kinda gal. I want to know, for better or worse, what the situation is, so I can prepare or rally or whatever. If it’s bad news, tell it to me straight, up front. It’s not going to get any better the longer you hold on to it. Case in point, RLR. They know they are in a shitty situation. Why give a misconstrued quote to Mike Harris at the AP only to have to fix it later? Why not utilize the awesomeness that is your director of communications, Eric Mauk (little plug for my bud!) and put out the story yourself? “The struggles of a team trying to survive in trying times” Right away you’ve garnered the sympathy of people who will rally around you rather than the suspicion of folks who now feel you are back-peddling.

As a potential sponsor I would be more inclined to hang my hat on a team or driver who maintained a positive buzz in the face of a negative situation, than one who remained mum while rumours of their demise swirled the drain.

IndyCar itself gets a B+ for their off season efforts. There has been a nice mix of fluff, and information and the occasional fire outputting since the checkers waved in October. Every week some little tidbit of information about the series or a driver lands in my inbox. That to me signifies strength and growth or at the very pessimistic least, sustenance. If all of the teams/drivers within the series followed suit, and if other series did the same, then we wouldn’t be subjected to months of speculation every off season. We would all be more inclined to talk UP the series rather than talk it down. That in and of itself can only be seen as a positive in a time when the decision to support can be made or broken based on the smallest perception of “this might not be a good thing”

So, my lurking interweb brethren, what say you?

another one bites the dust…sort of…

We awoke to the news that Rahal Letterman Racing won’t be answering the bell in 2009 thus removing a car/team from the grid and throwing another driver into the soup line. (well, technically he was already in the soup line, but it was assumed that if RLR or RHR found a big cheque somewhere, that he (RHR) would be re-signed with the team)

Speaking of big cheques…
I am curious why the hell Letterman doesn’t take out his fancy pen and sign his name on the dotted line. Can’t you just picture the World Wide Pants livery?? Top 10 / Stupid RaceFan tricks all summer live from the track! A BiFF/Arute showdown on pitlane! Come on Dave! There’s comedy gold in them there stands!!

In the meantime, over at Dale Coyne, where I picture them showing up to the track paying their weekend fees with rolls of coins, they’ve managed to snatch up former Ganassi engineer Bill Pappas for the 2009 season! No word on who’s actually driving, or if there is any sponsorship, but they, as usual, plan to be on the grid and challenging all season for a podium. That my friends is the difference between those who are in it for the racing and those who are in it for the money/glory. I will be supporting “Uncle Dale” 100% as usual.

*EDIT* Mr. Rahal released a statement later clarifying that they have not fully pulled out… but it’s a possibility.

(I’ve also realized the time code on this post is completely messed up… )

and the hits just keep on coming…

First of all, yay! I’m back!!! (huh? I was gone??)

I had a moment of panic this afternoon when I could no longer gain access to my own blog! WTF?!?!

Meesh no happy this afternoon let me tell ya!

It appears to have sorted itself out on it’s own for now, so I’m taking advantage of my good fortune and posting a little sump’n sump’n

On the heels of the unification of North American open-wheel racing under the IndyCar Series banner – which has seen immediate results including an average 26-plus cars per race, stronger at-track attendance, increased television ratings and new corporate partnerships – and the well received release of the 2009 schedule – the earliest release of the next season’s schedule in league history, the Indy Racing League will make another major announcement on Thursday, Aug. 7.

Indy Racing League founder and CEO Tony George will be joined by key Indy Racing League executives to make the announcement during a special Indy Racing League teleconference at 2 p.m., Thursday.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Seems like a lot of fuss for another track announcement. (and since the last one went over like a lead balloon, they might want to hold off on another one of those for a while…*snicker*) (I’m very curious to watch Infineon now though just because everyone seems to hate it! LOL!)

Likewise, I think heads would explode if they made a big deal of Paul returning for the final three races of the season. (oops… did I say that out loud?) One singled out press conference for PT is probably one more than most IndyCar fans care to see this year.

So, I’m thinking it’s either the TV deal or a title sponsor *cough* Subway *cough* announcement. Subway had huge exposure in Canada in recent weeks with the sponsorship of PT (IndyCar) and Patreek (Nascar) and the Nationwide race in Montreal. (I never realized how many Subway restaurants there are in Toronto until they sponsored PT and I was all of a sudden “aware” of their presence) If that exposure trickled across the border to head office, it could have sealed the deal.

TV deal… now that’s a bird of a different feather. This current one sucks if I may be so bold to say. So, at the risk of unhinging the wrath of fate with temptation, anything would be better. Preferably one that includes the international audience. Helloooooooooooo! *waves from Canada*  Thankfully IndyCar has been gracious enough to provide live internet coverage of the races all season, so this Canuckdian hasn’t missed any of the action. But I also specifically follow the series and know where to look. They sure as hell aren’t going to nab any casual fans with the 3am airings we’ve been getting. (have I said fuck TSN lately? )

I’m thinking the title sponsor announcement would go a long way to securing a better tv deal… so hopefully that  is what it is.

What else has been going on… not much really. They are trying to spin a “mathematical” run for the championship. Now all they have to do is figure out how to make Dixon score ZERO points from now until Chicago… not gonna happen. (even if they unleash mi corazon EJ on him… 😉 ) Speaking of EJ, in his own words this afternoon he said this when asked about the drivers complaining about his driving style:

There are many drivers here that drive like that, and at the same time they go and complain.  So I don’t know, I just try to be as clean as possible, just do one maneuver on the track, and that’s what I do.

Ya, but it’s that “one” maneuver that gets everyone’s panties twisted sweetheart…

Speaking of “on the edge” drivers… Scheckter, Tracy, Viso… Chicago. Oh ya baby. Throw in T-Bell, and I may have to find my way to Chitown…

Gonna be a busy weekend of racing this weekend. Sadly I won’t get to watch half of it due to shitty or non-existent coverage. (Atlantics, Star Mazda) My bud David Martinez is suiting up to cover for the injured David Garza at Road America. (look for him to be running A1GP this winter too!)

I’m thinking of heading out to Mosport on Saturday for CTNS. Then again, I may just take a pass depending on the weather. Mosport in the rain (which is 99% of the time) is not much fun.

Ok… back tomorrow post announcement…