France: ‘Edgy, fun brand’ drew NASCAR, Monster Energy together – Nascar

RELATED: NASCAR, Monster Energy announce entitlement deal

LAS VEGAS — Mark Hall called it “a rare opportunity that doesn’t come along every day.”

“If you would have asked me five years ago if I’ve ever contemplated something like this, the answer would be never in a million years,” said Hall, Chief Marketing Officer for Monster Energy.

Time flies.

Contemplation became reality Thursday as NASCAR and officials with the energy drink brand announced a multi-year agreement that will see Monster become entitlement sponsor of the sanctioning body’s premier series beginning in 2017.

“It’s a global brand that we took a long time to figure out,” NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France said during a press conference at the Wynn Las Vegas.

So why is Monster, headquartered in Corona, California, the right fit for auto racing’s most popular series?

“The reality for how impactful they are and what they can do differently is obviously they’re an edgy brand,” France said. “They’re a fun brand. They get at a millennial audience in a different way clearly than we’ve ever been associated with, particularly at this level, and they know what they’re doing.”

Monster will become just the third entitlement sponsor for NASCAR’s top series, following Sprint, which departs after a 13-year run. Tobacco giant RJ Reynolds served as series sponsor from 1971 through 2003.

RELATED: Drivers pumped for Monster deal

France said the Monster project was “one of the few sales calls that I actually personally made because of how important it was to align ourselves with a dynamic brand that reaches different places and different audiences … they made us feel comfortable over time on a couple of things.”

Motorsports was the “DNA” of Monster, according to France.

“When you walk through their lobby in California, you see that,” France said. “You see the motorcycles and NASCAR memorabilia and all kinds of things, and that’s who they are, so they understand motorsports. They understand NASCAR. They understand how to reach across and excite our core audience and help us deliver on a new audience, and that was very exciting for us.”

The company is or has been involved in Formula One, rally and motocross among its various motorsports endeavors.

On the NASCAR side, the brand currently sponsors the No. 41 of Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kurt Busch; NOS, a brand of drink also produced by the company, has an affiliation with 2015 NASCAR premier series champ Kyle Busch and provides sponsorship at the XFINITY Series level.

According to officials, those relationships won’t be impacted by the series’ sponsorship.

Their previous marketing efforts have been non-traditional — you haven’t see Monster Energy commercials airing during broadcasts of sporting events, for instance.

“We do count on our athletes and our endorsers and to a certain extent our fans to do our marketing,” Hall said. “… We have never created a commercial or an ad. We’ve done different things that we’ve been successful getting a lot of eyeballs on.”

The NASCAR sponsorship could change that approach somewhat.

Then again, the previous NASCAR approach may also evolve under the new arrangement.

The world of motorsports and how to market to its fans was new for the previous series sponsor. It took time to “get sorted out,” France said.

“But these guys are ready on day one. They have the activation tools, the plans and the people. They’re a fun brand that’s going to interact with our core fans in kind of a cool, neat way actually, and we’ve seen some of the plans, and they’ll get bigger and more robust as we go along.”

So is Monster the right partner?

France says officials are confident that’s the case.

“We’re in the fun business,” he said. “We’re racing cars. We’re crowning champions. We’re — this is where people come to have fun … our speedways and (to) watch us on television. What better brand to have associated with us than the people who understand that?”

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