The $7 million effort targets a broad range of sports fans, though primarily male. Previous marketing attempts focused only on car racing fans.
"We have never done anything like this before," said Carl Cohen, VP-marketing. "This is our first shot with an integrated marketing plan, putting together advertising, public relations and sponsorship."
CART will be doing its first major consumer magazine push, with a 16-page insert in Sports Illustrated carrying the new theme "Man and machine." It also will incorporate last year's copy line, "Feel the speed."
TV BACKS MARKETS
The marketer will use national TV and local spot in markets where CART holds races this season -- Cleveland; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Indianapolis; Houston; Milwaukee; Portland, Ore.; and St. Louis.
Balet & Albert, New York, handles TV and print creative.
CART also will place a series guide in USA Today, Esquire and The Sporting News. The guides will be available at race tracks, other distribution outlets and through direct mail.
CART's new approach comes at an appropriate time. Since disagreements led it to disassociate itself from the Indianapolis 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway three years ago, CART has had an identity problem with racing and non-racing fans.
The Speedway started a rival, Indy-style racing circuit, including the famous Indianapolis 500 race. Still, CART retained the most recognizable drivers, including Michael Andretti and Al Usner Jr.
RATINGS FAIL TO KEEP PACE
CART's TV ratings also have failed to keep pace with other motor sports.
Currently, CART has 16 major sponsors, including Federal Express Corp., which holds the title sponsorship of the group's entire series. Others include PPG Industries; MCI WorldCom; Sears, Roebuck & Co.'s Craftsman; and Valvoline Co.'s