Disclosure: Ok I'll be right up front with you right now: Representatives for AMP Energy got in contact with me before the Daytona 500 asking me if I'd be interested in previewing parts of their upcoming DVD called "6 Days To Race Day" and of course I said yes. They also asked me if I'd write my thoughts about their DVD on NASCAR RnR and then they sent some Dale Jr AMP Energy swag my way to pass along to you guys if I so inclined. Look for a Dale Jr swag give-away in the very near future!
So there you have it; you now probably think that the rest of this post is going to be a 'paid' advertisement for AMP Energy, and I guess you technically could be right but I hope that being the discerning readers that most of you are you'll see past that and realize that when you get right down to it this is in fact an opinion piece.
I love what AMP Energy (www.ampenergy.com) is doing for its fans and this "6 Days To Race Day" DVD is awesome. Even if you are not a Dale Jr fan you'll appreciate the behind-the-scene look into the prepping of a stock car. These cars don't build themselves or magically appear at the track each week, many man hours are put into creating and transporting these cars, and everything else that goes along with it, to the track each week so that our favourite drivers have something to compete with.
I've been a fan of NASCAR for almost 40 yrs now (crap has it been that long already?) and I certainly appreciate the unique perspective this DVD provides, not only for Dale Jr fans, but for fans of the sport.
Here is a quick pre-view of the DVD:
I'll be honest though the crew does make a lot of references to AMP Energy in the DVD, but I upon further review I really think the AMP Energy lingo they used during the filming of the DVD was not done for the cameras but rather it has become part of their regular shop-talk and track-talk.
This observed Amp-talk by the crew got me thinking more about the sponsors in NASCAR - past and present - and just how much of an impact sponsors have on both the fans and the sport.
Man, sponsors are everywhere. Sure its harder to get a sponsor now a days (just ask Ricky Byers) but if you really look there are still quite a few out there. But what kind of impact do they have with the fans?
Think about it. Think about the sponsors out there right now and think about what they have to offer the fans aside from their product.
Sure they offer websites and contests and driver appearances but what else?
AMP Energy has a pretty cool website with www.ampupthe88.com and you'll find contests there too just like other sponsors, but AMP also has something else; live chats most Wednesdays with either Dale Jr or members of his Rick Hendrick crew. Now that's cool.
Do other sponsor's have promo DVD's free for their fans when purchasing their product? Not sure, but as far as I know Amp Energy is the only one out there doing it right now - so get yours now before they're all gone!
Is AMP Energy trying to capitalize on Dale Jr's large fan base to sell their product by using promos such as this? Yep, but hat is what any sponsor does with the driver they sponsor - that is why they are sponsoring him in the first place! At least with AMP Energy (as far as I can see) the fan is also getting something in return; a feeling of ownership in the team, a sense of being a part of the team, even just by watching this DVD.
Funny how the sports most popular driver is also the sports least accessible driver in the realm of social media and yet his fans have a strong sense of connectedness with him through the actions of his sponsor. Wow.
Even NASCAR RnR's own Twitter Watcher, NASCAR-24 (a Jeff Gordon fan through and true) got her name put on Dale Jr's car last season during one of AMP Energy's many promotions to get the fans involved.
AMP Energy is entering into its 3rd year as an official sponsor of Dale Jr's car and has not slowed in its fan friendly approach. In fact, since the sponsorship began the AMP Energy brand has grown 48%! I know, 48%! Amazing, especially in this economy.
I'm looking forward to see what fan friendly promotion AMP Energy has in-store for the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 31, 2010. I hope it is some sort of Halloween fan car like the name car from last year. It would be kind of cool to see Dale Jr's fire suit made up to look like Frankenstein or something with his helmet painted to look like Franky's head.
As far as I'm concerned AMP Energy does it right as sponsorships go - they include the fans in some way or another and that is all that a fan wants in return for buying their favourite driver's sponsor's product (there's a mouthful).
AMP Energy has AMP'ed up the role of sponsors in NASCAR. Question is, who will now follow AMP Energy's lead?