Proximity Marketing Tested @ Nascar Events

Fans that attended last weekend’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona were greeted with a unique form of marketing and interaction with the brands supporting the race. A new system of ad-supported Bluetooth and Wi-Fi messaging was put in place to offer fans information about entertainment and driver appearances throughout the race. It’s all part of an effort to introduce proximity-based information and marketing to other race-tracks and sporting events.

The campaign was lead by Ace Promotion & Marketing who partnered with International Speedway Corp. to place seven “hotspots” capable of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi transmissions throughout the complex. As fans made their way throughout the track, they would receive various connection requests and could opt-in to receive the content.

The race’s two main sponsors; Coke and Chevrolet supported the campaign with 15-second video spots placed among the content. Chevy notified people of the vehicle demos they offered around the track, and Coke directed people to free samples of Coke Zero as part of their promotion integrated into the system. Other content the fans received were things like concert information for the infield performances, and driver autograph-signing information and times.

With the controversy surrounding Bluetooth-spamming and other concerns with proximity-based marketing aside, the campaign proved rather successful for all parties involved. It was noted people were immediately reaching for their mobile phones upon seeing the call-to-action signs placed around the track. There weren’t many details about the actual success-rate of the campaign, but officials said overall it was a “positive experience.”

Sounds to me like it didn’t go as well as they’d hoped for, or more details about how it performed in terms of conversion for the advertisers would have been reported. The only concern mentioned by staff putting on the campaign was how many people actually had active Bluetooth or Wi-Fi -enabled devices on them during the race. I would have to agree fully- I think proximity marketing via Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi can and has worked successfully, but only in carefully researched situations and places. Other parts of the world besides the US, where mobile devices with this functionality are more ubiquitous are much better testing grounds for such campaigns. I think it’s still a little early for proximity marketing as a whole, but the future looks bright if done correctly.