Warner Music and Chevy In High Gear

Nascar race shapes up as co-branding bonanza

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%%STORYIMAGE_RIGHT%% Warner Music Group and General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet have collaborated on an elaborate promotional program revolving around a Nascar racing event at summer's end that will offer co-branding opportunities to multiple parties: brand marketers, musical artists, and Nascar drivers.

The Chevy Rock & Roll 400 race at the Richmond International Raceway will feature seven Nascar drivers, each driving a Chevy Monte Carlo and each aligned with a WMG artist. The seven teams are each sponsored by an individual brand marketer. For example, Dale Earnhardt Jr., considered to be the most popular driver on the circuit, is aligned with Elektra rock band Staind. The team is sponsored by Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser. The car will be emblazoned with both the band's logo as well as with that of Budweiser.

Other drivers involved in the promotion will include Michael Waltrip, Steve Park, Robby Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Joe Nemecheck and Ron Hornaday. Other participating artists are Elektra's Third Eye Blind, Warner Brothers Records' Trapt, Atlantic Records' Hootie & The Blowfish, Sugar Ray, also on Atlantic, and two Lava Records artists, Uncle Kracker and Frankie Perez. Some of these artists will perform before and after the televised races on TNT on Sept. 5 and 6.

Other brand sponsors include WMG's AOL Time Warner sibling, AOL, Cingular Wireless, Napa Auto Parts, GM Goodwrench, UAW Delphi and AC Delco.

"Instead of just buying the entitlement and placing our name on [the event], our belief is that value comes back when we put together a fully integrated promotion with a supported communications plan that aligns with our marketing and advertising strategy," said Terry Dolan, Chevy Racing marketing manager, based in Detroit.

%%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%% "We're providing rock-n-roll at a magnitude that Nascar has never seen before," said Laura Del Greco, WMG VP of corporate integrated marketing. "This is the first time ever that we're doing CD sales at the track." Participating bands' latest releases will be sold and tracked by Nielsen SoundScan.

The program will be supported by TV, radio and print ads, as well as with an online sweepstakes program that will give away either a 2004 Chevy Colorado truck or a 2004 Chevy Malibu sedan, two of the nine new vehicles the company will be introducing over the next 20 months.

"We really believe that Chevy has uniquely inspired pop culture over the years, unlike any other brand in the auto category," said Jim Campbell, Chevy Racing marketing director. Campbell pointed out that Chevy vehicles have inspired lyrics in 200 songs across multiple genres, including songs by the Beach Boys, Don McLean's "American Pie", and Prince's "Little Red Corvette."

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