NASCAR has more than 90 million fans around the world, ranging from casual to avid enthusiasts. Celebrity promotion and partnerships like American Ethanol’s with NASCAR has helped NASCAR reach even more people. One place you’re most likely to see celebrities interact with NASCAR is behind the green flag.
Like throwing the ceremonial first pitch in a Major League Baseball game, NASCAR has its honorary starter wave the green flag to launch the race. Bringing someone in from outside NASCAR’s boundaries also garners attention from that person’s followers. Since Big Bill France started NASCAR in 1949, it has been not only a motorsport of extreme competition but also a vehicle of self-promotion lifting all who are involved with it. Maybe Big Bill had a crystal ball back then and could see our time: the “Age of the Influencer.”
Until 2011 the green flag in NASCAR was known as sacred ground. It was plain green for competition reasons, and no sponsor was going to muddy that water with their brand. That is, until American Ethanol became an official partner and, more importantly, a competition partner of NASCAR. After all, Sunoco Green E15 was now in every race car’s fuel tank, proving itself as a superior fuel week in and week out. We wanted more visibility in the sport and NASCAR offered the green flag, giving us the opportunity to raise even more awareness for American Ethanol.
The green flag is in the limelight at every NASCAR race. It starts the action at the beginning of the race and at every stage. It also restarts the action after every accident and caution flag. Other than a photo finish, it is the most exciting and intense part of a NASCAR race. The person who gets the honor of waving that green flag at the beginning of the race has always played an important role for the day. The honorary starter is often well known and comes from beyond the track. Behind the green flag you will most likely find a celebrity. Charlize Theron and Gary Sinise are just a few of the celebrities who have waved the green flag.
Having a celebrity endorse or promote your product isn’t new — it’s been a brilliant way to get above the noise in the advertising world. This marketing strategy picked up steam long ago decade by decade, and soon you had Andy Griffith promoting Corn Flakes. Some of the most memorable product promotion to me are “Mean” Joe Greene with Coca-Cola or Betty White with Snickers. Coincidentally, these big-name brands have had partnerships or are currently promoting in the sport of NASCAR. Why wouldn’t they? NASCAR is the largest promoter of brand names the world has ever known. They built an empire on it. Celebrities are the icing on the cake.
Yeah, most celebrities are into self-promotion; we get that. They are at the track promoting their thing, their favorite brand, an upcoming movie or just themselves. But why not tie into that star power and reach an audience that isn’t familiar with NASCAR or notably American Ethanol?
American Ethanol has carved its own bold home in the NASCAR world. We are in the top ten of the most recognized brands in NASCAR, sitting at No. 7. We are in victory lane every week on every car in NASCAR, not to mention in the tank. We also get the boost of following from the folks that wave the green flag every race.
Without our partnership with NASCAR it would be extremely hard to reach the masses that follow the sport of NASCAR and, thanks to our logo on the green flag, the masses who follow the influencers beyond the track.