Six Months Into A “Crisis” Year and NASCAR Continues Its Strong Refinement…

If any sport could be hurt by the global economic problems it should be NASCAR. The essence of the “traveling circus” of a circuit, especially one built around the auto industry and legions of fans that have to travel to see their stars, makes survival problematic and growth questionable. Outside the US, racing in the form of Formula One has been devastated, with more bad news that good. Yet NASCAR, although taking a hit, has continued to build its brand, redefine itself and find ways to satisfy its core audience and find new, casual fans in these crazy times. Ho. By staying on message, looking for new avenues, listening to their fans and doing everything possible to keep their TV, digital and brand partners happy in these tough times. A look around this week sees the NASCAR story told point by point in USA Today , and in an indepth all access show on CNBC . Prior to that, away from the sports and business pages, the New York Times spent A Night Out with driver Jimmie Johnson recently in Manhattan, while SUNOCO re-launched their campaign for Free Fuel for NASCAR fans and loyal customers in early June. Are things all ros. No. The discretionary dollar for many fans has dried up, which will hopefully lead them to TV or more digital coverage, but NASCAR has done a great job of showing all partners that they are remaining strong in these tough times and will do whatever it takes to reward all involved with their brand. Great mid-year push by a sport fueled by loyalty.

Some other good reads…Ad Age had an interesting piece on how cities are turning to marketing companies to find unique ways to raise revenue…WSJ had a good piece on Kobe Bryant's China value, perfectly timed during the Yao Ming uncertainty, and Media Post had a nice primer on the pieces needed to establish an iconic brand