Kyle Petty Charity Leverages Press to Build Awareness
Since its inception in 1995, the annual cross-country motorcycle trip featuring NASCAR celebs lead by Kyle Petty has logged more than 20,000 miles and generated more than $3 million for charity.
The 2002 Charity Ride kicked off in Napa, CA, last June and traveled for eight days (covering about 400 miles daily). The Ride benefited several charities and children’s hospitals, such as the Starbright Foundation and Winston Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary. The list of sponsors included Sprint, Coca-Cola Co. and Harley-Davidson.
The goal was to raise money for the causes—and subsequently, the objective of the communications and public relations plan was to develop opportunities that expanded awareness and created an atmosphere for greater involvement and interest for the charities. (Kaplow Communications handled p.r. and Merv Griffin Productions produced.)
The media was contacted prior to the program’s launch, and key messages were delivered during press activities held during and after the Ride. Prior to launch, Petty conducted a satellite media and radio tour with local and national outlets. He also unveiled a new Charity Ride paint scheme on his No. 45 racecar. During the event, media and fans packed into Charity Ride fuel stops, where press advisories and releases were distributed. Select journalists were embedded in certain cars, and media events (charity dinners, hospital visits) were arranged in key markets. New for 2002, a charity site was set up on eBay to auction off Ride merchandise.
More than 200 stories were carried in high-circ. pubs such as USA Today, the Boston Globe, and the Miami Herald. More than 150 stories aired on television stations including CNN, Fox, and Headline News. Some 30 interviews were carried by radio stations and the online auction generated an extra $51,000 for the cause.