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Cintas Refuels NASCAR Sponsorship

After seven years as a NASCAR sponsor, Cintas Corp. is looking to pump some gas into the relationship.

The Cincinnati-based maker of uniforms for numerous industries regularly receives calls from consumers wondering whether it sells NASCAR merchandise. The company decided it was time to “put money into activating our sponsorship,” said Shelly Eddy, motor sports marketing manager at Cintas.

Cintas created a marketing campaign around a NASCAR sweepstakes known as “What NASCAR Wears on Race Day” that ran March 1 to May 31. First prize was an autographed automobile hood from racer Bobby Labonte's Nextel Cup car.

Second prize was a Washington Redskins racing helmet signed by Labonte and the football team's head coach, Joe Gibbs. In addition to his success in football, Gibbs has earned recognition in NASCAR via his race team, Joe Gibbs Racing, which has won the Daytona 500. An Interstate Batteries NASCAR race jacket was the third prize.

“The goal was to direct people to our Web site to be able to collect a database of names and increase our catalog sales,” Eddy said.

Anyone who made a minimum purchase of $100 from Cintas' catalog was entered automatically. The company collected 12,000 names through the promotion.

The first element of the campaign was advertising on racing sites such as nascar.com, joegibbsracing.com and bobbylabonte.com that debuted March 1. Around that time, the March Cintas catalog came out, featuring a wrap around the cover highlighting the sweepstakes and directing people to cintas.com to enter.

Two weeks later, Cintas mailed fliers to customers and prospects highlighting the sweepstakes and including an entry card. The flier also directed recipients to its site. Cintas typically targets only prospects in its direct mail, but this time it sent the pieces to prospects and customers, Eddy said.

Three weeks after that, Cintas stuffed fliers containing the same information into the pockets of all the uniforms it rents. Two weeks later it mailed a second flier featuring the NASCAR driver T-shirts and hats that Cintas sells.

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