Panther Racing has agreed to sponsor the new Blue Planet Run, the first endurance run around the world. The run will have an international team of 12 to 18 runners who will sprint around the globe for 100 consecutive days through 22 countries to raise awareness for the need to bring safe drinking water to the world.
Panther Racing will support the event by adding the Blue Planet Run logo on the rear wing of the No. 4 Panther Dallara Honda IndyCar and on the water bottle of Panther driver Vitor Meira.
If you think this doesn't sound like much, think again. Logo placements similar to Blue Planet's generally cost tens of thousands of dollars! And companies are happy to pay it. Auto racing attracts huge crowds and fans closely inspect race cars before and after races, in addition to watching them zip around the track up to five hundred times. And don't forget all those fans watching at home. Finally, auto racing fans are very loyal and brand conscious. According to USA Today:
NASCAR fans regularly shell out $25 for a T-shirt, $30 for a hat and even $300 for a jacket plastered with the corporate logo of their favorite driver's sponsor. When it comes to shopping, many fans believe they're helping their favorite by buying his sponsor's product. "They understand that if Sirius Satellite Radio goes away, that's one less car out there," says Philip Pilla, vice president of marketing for Sirius.
It's clear why Blue Planet must be happy with the partnership, but the benefit to Panther Racing isn't. Is it auto racing's attempt to appear more environmentally-friendly and less gas (and beer) guzzling? Is Panther catering to an increasingly upscale, sophisticated fan base that will appreciate their support for trendy causes and (gasp!) physical activity? Are they getting publicity along the running route that will one day bring auto racing to Mongolia?
Or, maybe, just perhaps, Panther Racing really does care about bringing safe drinking water to the peoples of the world? Nah.