I have to give NASCAR credit for trying.
It’s no secret that NASCAR needs to start attracting younger fans and this fall college kids on 12 campuses will return to find NASCAR brand ambassadors in their midst.
These brand ambassadors will be called the “NASCAR U CREW.” I can see the long lines of college kids just dying to become a part of the U CREW! The only way they could make themselves sound more lame is to call themselves brand ambassadors. College kids want to be cool – and that name just isn’t.
NASCAR has teamed up with University Directories on Campus (UDOC) said to be the leading media and marketing company on US college campuses. Their plan is “designed to engage college students by establishing unique NASCAR events on campus and at the track. With the assistance of two brand ambassadors per school, NASCAR will be integrated into the college lifestyle.”
I think that is marketing-speak for “let’s throw a NASCAR viewing party.” College may have changed since I was there 2 years ago (cough, cough, cough) but unless they are handing out free beer – and LOTS of it – their viewing parties will not easily fit into a college kid’s busy weekend schedule.
We know NASCAR will not be handing out copious amounts of alcohol – so I think these viewing parties – or any gathering of a “U CREW” on campus will be a bust.
NASCAR is getting a few things right with this new program. The U-Crew members will be working closely with their respective track to create and promote a “college ticket package” as well as a designated hospitality/tailgate area for local students.
THAT’s a winner! When I was in college I drove several hours to attend a horse race called The Carolina Cup. Each year, I went to hang out in the parking lot and party with the tailgaters. I would have never gone there “only” to see a horse race – and one year I didn’t even bother to watch the races – I was enjoying the atmosphere of the parking lot too much. To be sure, there were people camping near Bristol last weekend without tickets and they each had a true NASCAR experience.
“NASCAR, and the social component of watching and attending races, lends itself very nicely to the college lifestyle,” said NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps. “NASCAR U CREW will allow us to interact with college students across the country in a fun and relevant way, giving our current fans the avenue to express their passion and our future fans the vehicle to experience the sport.”
The 12 schools participating in the pilot program of NASCAR U CREW are: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; University of New Hampshire; University of Delaware; University of Kansas; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of North Carolina, Charlotte; Auburn University; Virginia Tech; University of North Texas; Arizona State University; Florida International University; and University of Miami.
Again, I give NASCAR credit for trying to reach those younger fans and tailgate parties at the races is a wonderful idea. It’s just the name: “NASCAR U CREW.” Unless College kids have stopped wanting to get laid in the last few weeks – I think they will have a hard time getting kids to wear that moniker.