He has to consistently win, but these past few weeks have made me realize that Carl Edwards has all the ingredients of being the next big NASCAR marketing star. He speaks well, he's good looking and he's the only guy who has a ridiculous gimmick. Doing a backflip off his car window after driving for an entire race.
If he can get by the tough breaks that have recently been thrown his way (a failed post-win inspection last week followed by a next to last finish this week), Edwards could be the talk of the sports marketing world. Then again, how much space does this guy have left on his firesuit? He already counts Office Depot , Aflac , Ritz, Vitamin Water, Dish Network, Citi and Claritin as supporters.
We sat down with Edwards before this week's race to talk to the world of marketing.
Darren: What's it like to have all these business responsibilities?
Edwards: The marketing partners I have are aware that the number one thing I'm thinking about is my performance on the track. But I like these commercials. They're really fun.
Darren: How do you remember all your sponsors?
Edwards: One trick I have is I look into the camera lens and I can see them reflecting on my shirt.
Darren: You have two very different primary sponsors in Aflac and Office Depot. What are the message points for both?
Edwards: Well, for Aflac, if you're hurt and you can't work, they'll pay you cash. And for Office Depot, their products are good if you're at work. So yeah, they are totally different. One you're at work. One you're not.
Darren: That's pretty funny. Reminds me of when John Daly had one shoulder with a Trimspa patch and one shoulder with a Dunkin' Donuts patch. Obviously, the backflip has become a big part of your routine and your marketability. Why do people love it so much?
Edwards: Well, some fans get a kick out of it, but I think a lot of people are waiting to see if I'll ever fall down.
Darren: When do you start thinking about the flip?
Edwards: I'm not thinking about it until pretty much the moment I'm on the door. A lot of people are surprised I can do it after a race like that, but I'm not sure I could do it if I didn't win a race. There's just so much adrenaline going.
Odds & Ends
We're going to start with odds because that's what gets the most attention, right? This one is courtesy of two industry favorites, Joe Favorito's PR & Marketing Roundup andBrent Hunberger's Playbooks & Profits. So we've seen some pretty good March Madness promotions, but this one tops them all. A group of urologists in Oregon are urging men to "lower your seed for the tournament." The idea is that men can easily waste time recovery by watching the tournament. According to the article, the urologists reserved a dozen appointments for March 19, the day before the tournament starts and another 12 on March 26 before the tournament's second week.
While many heard of the UFC's alliance with Budweiser, there's another mixed martial arts drink sponsorship to note. Last week, the International Fight League and Cott Corporation announced a deal that would make the company's Throwdown "The Official Energy Drink" of the IFL.
Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com