Sunday, January 18, 2009

Will "ServiceMaster Clean Caution Periods" Change NASCAR On TV?

It is day two of the New World Order for many NASCAR fans who have been emailing and commenting on the new sponsorship of the actual caution periods in NASCAR races.

For those of you who have still not heard the news, NASCAR has brokered a deal that allow a cleaning company called ServiceMaster to be the official sponsor of the caution periods in most of the NASCAR races.

This is the official press release:

ServiceMaster Clean announced that it has signed a unique partnership agreement to be the first-ever official sponsor of the caution periods during races at International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and Speedway Motorsports Incorporated (SMI) race tracks across the nation.

When there is a problem on the track, the ServiceMaster Clean Yellow Flag will wave, and the company’s familiar yellow trucks will be dispatched to clean the track. ServiceMaster Clean will have official and exclusive sponsorship of the Yellow Flag– now to be known as ServiceMaster Clean Caution periods – at all 19 ISC and SMI race tracks around the country. These racetracks feature 31 Sprint Cup, 24 Nationwide and 17 Camping World Truck Series races and hundreds of other racing events.

In fact, there will hardly be a race for the next five years where ServiceMaster Clean does not have a large presence.

All cleaning and drying vehicles and equipment will feature the ServiceMaster Clean logo and colors, and the clean-up teams will wear bright yellow ServiceMaster Clean jumpsuits. The multi-year agreement is not limited to what happens on the track, but also includes national coverage on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Performance Racing Network (PRN), and a host of other marketing opportunities designed to generate consistent visibility.

This PR announcement does not include the TV specifics, but we can assume that with the right advertising dollars, ServiceMaster will soon be appearing during caution periods on your TV all season long.

So, the upshot of all of this is that the actual caution flag is now sponsored. The caution period itself is sponsored and the clean-up on the track will be done by folks wearing ServiceMaster uniforms and driving ServiceMaster trucks.

Perhaps, TV viewers will take all of this in stride as just another NASCAR sponsorship like Goodyear tires or Sunoco race fuel.

For those of us at TDP, the question is how this sponsorship will be reflected on a TV screen that already contains everything from animated rodents to multiple lines of scrolling scores and text.

Certainly, any TV sponsor package is going to include ServiceMaster Clean Caution Period graphics, perhaps some animation and of course...commercials. Add this to the already heavy TV commercial load and it should make for an interesting combination for the viewers at home.

TDP will keep you posted as this sponsorship package continues to develop. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on the impact of this rather unique idea on the TV viewing of your favorite NASCAR races.

More ServiceMaster story links. Just click on the title:
ServiceMaster Outsourcing IT Services, 225 Employees Being Fired (December 2008)
ServiceMaster Home Page (which has no mention of the NASCAR announcement)

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