Office Depot Sweepstakes Lets Small Businesses Ride With NASCAR

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Office Depot began a national sweepstakes in February offering small businesses a chance to become the "Official Small Business of NASCAR." With nearly 100,000 entrants, the company is now rolling out a regional version of the sweepstakes in five cities.


Small businesses account for more than 80 percent of Office Depot's global sales, company spokeswoman Mindy Kramer said. Since more than 6 million small business owners call themselves NASCAR fans, a partnership with the racing association seemed like a good fit, she said.


"The interesting thing about the Official Small Business of NASCAR promotion is that it aligns perfectly with our core customer," she said.


The national sweepstakes, which ran from February through May, offered businesses with 99 or fewer employees the chance to use a special NASCAR logo and have their name displayed on the Office Depot NASCAR race car.


"A small business, on its own, would never be able to get that type of exposure," Kramer said.


Customers could enter online at officedepotracing.com, including at computers located in Office Depot stores.


To promote the contest, Office Depot ran national TV spots and Internet ads on several news and NASCAR-related sites. The marketing support also included e-mail blasts to NASCAR's fan base and Office Depot's database of customers. In addition, from Feb. 13 to April 3, 30 million copies of a freestanding insert dropped nationally.


The sweepstakes also was promoted in-store with a life-size cardboard standee of Office Depot's NASCAR driver Carl Edwards, which was placed inside the entrance to the stores.


Office Depot's customers have "embraced our relationship with the Office Depot No. 99 car," Kramer said. "The NASCAR fans are loyal to NASCAR sponsors."


More than any other major sport, NASCAR fans buy the products of the sponsors who help their team on the track, she said.


Also, an Office Depot survey found that 44 percent of people who shop other office supply stores said they would switch to Office Depot because of its association with NASCAR, Kramer said.


The regional version of the sweepstakes, announced June 6, will involve almost 250 stores in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas and Miami. Each winning business will have its company name featured on the No. 99 Office Depot car during a NASCAR race in their market. Winners also will receive a $1,000 Office Depot shopping spree, a VIP NASCAR Nextel Cup weekend experience and various other prizes.


The promotions begin about five weeks before the race in each market. In Chicago, the race occurs July 10; in Los Angeles on Sept. 4; in Atlanta on Oct. 30; in Dallas on Nov. 6; and in Miami on Nov. 20.


Office Depot, Delray Beach, FL, will employ the same marketing elements to support each regional sweepstakes that were used for the national campaign. The first freestanding insert for the Chicago market dropped the weekend of June 5.


Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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