UPS Revs Up Its Image With NASCAR Presence

Mar 14, 2005  •  Post A Comment

From the crash helmet on display at its headquarters to a national series of TV ads urging driver Dale Jarrett to race a delivery truck, UPS believes it’s getting maximum mileage from its multimillion-dollar NASCAR sponsorship.

It’s an odd pairing for the staid delivery firm known for exhaustive planning and conservative business practices. But UPS has steadily expanded its NASCAR presence, recently signing a sponsorship contract through 2006.

UPS Chief Operating Officer John Beystehner explained to TelevisionWeek correspondent Jennie Phipps how an investment estimated to be at least $25 million per year pays off.

TelevisionWeek: What convinced UPS to try NASCAR?

John Beystehner: Demographically, compared to other sponsorship opportunities that we looked at five years ago, NASCAR met our goals. We thought we could use it effectively for both employee recognition and customer hospitality efforts.

NASCAR operates 36 weekends a year and it’s all over the country. Plus, it’s very personal. With other sports you put your name on an arena, but with NASCAR you put your name on the athlete and his vehicle. And NASCAR races are all-day events. You get lots of good opportunities to meet with customers away from their business location and our location. Plus, we thought there was a natural tie-in between UPS and NASCAR. Speed, reliability, performance and tremendous use of technology are all key attributes of both UPS and NASCAR.

TVWeek: How do you measure whether it’s working for you?

Mr. Beystehner: I don’t think counting the number of minutes that Dale Jarrett or the No. 88 car are on TV is a very effective measurement. What I find encouraging is that when we have Dale Jarrett visit our facilities, people go wild at the opportunity to meet him. And we never have trouble getting customers to join us at NASCAR events.

TVWeek: What about the television ads that suggest Dale Jarrett should be racing a UPS truck instead of a race car; has that campaign paid off?

Mr. Beystehner: You haven’t lived until you have been walking along beside Dale Jarrett and listening to people ask him, ‘Are you going to race the Big Brown Truck?’ He gets it all day long. And our salespeople get the question all the time: ‘Did you see how Jarrett did yesterday?’ Even when he wrecks, people say, ‘Bet he wishes he was driving the Big Brown Truck.’

TVWeek: So is it worth $25 million a year?

Mr. Beystehner: You put that number on it, not me, but I can’t stress enough how much this relationship has exceeded the results we would have been happy with. When you end up with something that raises the bar further than you ever thought it could go, then you know it’s a great vehicle.