(Posted Thu. May 24th, 2012)
By Garry Niemeyer, President, National Corn Growers Association:
May 24: In late 2010, with our support, NASCAR announced it was switching to a 15 percent ethanol blend in all races starting with the 2011 season. We at the National Corn Growers Association and our allies in the ethanol industry saw a tremendous opportunity to spotlight the importance of ethanol and the E15 blend. With the second year of racing well underway, it is clear that the American Ethanol NASCAR program has been highly successful.
Just consider that more than one quarter of the U.S. population – 80 million people – are NASCAR fans. The American Ethanol partnership is the first program we’ve been involved in with our state affiliates that has a reach of this magnitude.
Each week, NASCAR fans are exposed to positive ethanol promotions: American Ethanol fuel for every race, American Ethanol on every green flag and fuel port and American Ethanol in the winner’s circle. American Ethanol drivers and cars on the track, in-car cameras and “fast facts” on television, and high profile at-track promotions serve to round out the promotions.
From sea to shining sea, the NASCAR platform has enabled us to break into major mainstream news media with positive ethanol messages. Mentions include the Boston Globe, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today and numerous others.
Market research confirms the ability of American Ethanol and NASCAR to deliver key messages to new audiences was nearly six times greater than ethanol alone, and 92 percent of those stories are positive.
And our messages are working. NASCAR fans are nearly 50 percent more likely than nonfans to support the use of ethanol to increase American energy independence and nearly 50 percent more likely than nonfans to support the use of ethanol in their own cars.
It is unlikely we would be able to generate the positive press and exposure to such a large population of consumers and voters with any other million-dollar campaign, in large part due to leveraging of our investment with the significant resources of NASCAR in its NASCAR Green program, and the large investment by our partner Growth Energy to launch and amplify the American Ethanol brand.
Our product, American Ethanol, is now an integral part of the nation’s No. 1 spectator sport and American Ethanol is among the few sports sponsorships where the athletes actually use the product in competition, joining Gatorade, Goodyear and Nike. As one NASCAR team owner recently put it, “I like to think that if E15 is good enough for my racing team, it’s certainly good enough for everyday street cars.”
The evidence is clear: our corn farmers, state corn grower associations and checkoff organizations, and my fellow farmer leaders of the NCGA can all be proud of what we’ve accomplished thus far with the American Ethanol NASCAR program.