Music festivals like Coachella may have put branded glamping on the map, but M&M’s this summer is offering an all frills, no fringe, approach to the trend with the M&M’s Glampground at NASCAR races. As the official chocolate of NASCAR, the brand is giving fans the opportunity to purchase packages that include an overnight stay in a branded M&M’s tent, VIP viewing areas, passes to tour the garages and track, and special guest appearances. The first M&M’s Glampground activated at the Kentucky Speedway on July 13. The second takes place at the Bristol Speedway in Tennessee on Aug. 18.
“Anytime we can leverage a fun brand like M&M’s in all its colorful glory and then take advantage of our more than 20-year history with NASCAR and the Joe Gibbs Racing team to engage fans in fun and interactive ways is just a natural for us,” says Mike Gilroy, vp-trade development and sponsorship, Mars Wrigley Confectionary. “The Glampground idea was born out of a strategy to engage existing fans and to reach out to new fans of racing. But as we know from our research that the millennial crowd, in particular, is always looking for experiential opportunities, this really delivers on that.”
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On race day in Kentucky, the Glampground opened at 1 p.m., and each ticketholder was assigned a spacious tent that included an inflatable bed, plush branded blankets and pillows, and a branded robe (there was room service, too). Glampers had access to private bathrooms and shower trailers, an air-conditioned motor coach and hospitality area as well as a rooftop viewing deck. They were provided breakfast, lunch and dinner, and enjoyed tailgate games and golf-cart shuttle service around the track. At night, they were treated to a movie projected onto an inflatable big screen in the Glampground—naturally, it was Will Ferrell’s “Talladega Nights.”
The glampers were also treated to intimate conversations with NASCAR drivers and influencers, including former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty who spoke of his racing days and signed autographs, and Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity drivers Christopher Bell, Reilly Herbst and Brandon Jones, who shared stories from coming up through the NASCAR ranks. Samantha Busch, wife of Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, shared stories of what life is like on the road for her, Kyle and their son Brexton, followed by a “pre-race stretch” to warm everyone up for the race. Coach Joe Gibbs of Joe Gibbs Racing shared anecdotes on leadership, and Kyle Busch entertained the crowd with a variety of stories on racing and his life on the road. There were also drop-in appearances from Sirius XM NASCAR radio host Claire B. Lang, “NASCAR Trackside Live” host Jose Castillo, and even Horsepower, the track mascot.
“The tickets sold out in mere hours, so that right away was a good tip-off that we were onto something strong here,” Gilroy says. “But throughout the weekend, the guests formed a community, which is really what NASCAR is about. They even created their own Facebook Group afterward so they could all stay in touch—the first-ever M&M’s Glampground group. It was just incredible.” Agencies: In-house; Weber Shandwick.