Firestone, the official tire of INDYCAR, over Memorial Day weekend celebrated the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 with VIP hospitality, a Race Mario social media-based sweepstakes and the Firestone & INDYCAR Fan Experience that included a digital tire interactive, an airbrushed tattoo station, a race tire bag toss and a racing simulator. It was a historic moment for the brand, which competed in the first Indy 500 in 1911, and this year on May 29 crowned its 67th Indy 500 champion, more than all other tire manufacturers combined.
The VIP experience offered special seating for nearly 1,400 guests, including Firestone dealers and customers, breakfast with racecar drive Mario Andretti and receptions and special events. But for those not invited into the Firestone chalet, the Firestone & INDYCAR Fan Experience translated the racing action on the Speedway into hands-on engagements with tires for everyday use. Firestone brings the fan experience to the track every race weekend to create brand awareness, drive purchase consideration and in-store traffic at Firestone Complete Auto Care stores.
“The fan experience is a great way to tell our brand story in a very unique way in a very unique environment where fans are seeing our products on a car going 200-plus miles per hour, and at the same time understand what we as a company do in not only engineering and making those great race tires but how that applies to passenger tires they can buy and drive on everyday,” says Lisa Boggs, director of motorsports at Bridgestone, which owns the Firestone brand.
Within the tented fan experience, the digital tire interactive gave fans the chance to see their name appear on a replica of the Firestone INDYCAR 500 Commemorative Tire, along with the name of every winner who has raced and won with Firestone tires. Fans can have their picture taken with the tire and share it on social media. Fans can also get a tattoo of the Firestone Firehawk, try out the racing simulator, try to win prizes in a tire bag toss and check out new Firestone tires. Local Firestone Complete Auto Care employees are on hand to recommend tires, provide price quotes and distribute coupons to drive consumers to retail.
A Race Mario social media engagement that ran for a month before the Indy 500 gave fans the chance to make a video of themselves responding to challenges provided by Andretti—things like peeling an orange or folding a fitted sheet—for a grand prize of a VIP experience at the track and meeting the racecar driver himself. Agency: Marketing Werks, Chicago; Leo Burnett, Chicago