Greatest Contest Concept Ever

Champion Spark Plugs' “Search for a Champion”

By definition, the staff here at MoparMax are marketing professionals. Media exists for two purposes, to convey information to the reader/viewer and to provide a channel for advertising/marketing. We’re also racers, with your Editor-Publisher, Richard Kratz working as crew chief on our drag race team and Senior Editor, Alex Rogeo driving. We don’t just race a little as part of our magazine jobs; we race because we’re racers. As I write this Alex has put the MoparMax Maulin’ Magnum into first place in the Pacific Street Car Association’s Street Muscle class. We travel about 130 days a year for racing and the magazine—races, car shows, industry events and shows—we don’t just write about it, we live it.

Being fairly successful at what we do on the track and being marketing professionals, it’s not surprising that Team MoparMax has a bit more support from marketing partners than the majority of sportsman drag racers. For one thing, we have Alex, a unique asset for any race team. Alex is not only a talented driver; she’s charismatic, photogenic and a trained actress, singer and model. And she’s one heck of a genuinely nice person. For another we have Richard, whose background in engineering, racing and writing combine with his prior career as an aviation mechanic and two and a half decades of racing experience to produce a talented crew chief. And lastly, we have that marketing thing. Put it all together and we’ve got a better idea about partnering with sponsors than most.

There are whole books written on motorsports sponsorship, and if you’re serious about making racing a career than we suggest you hit Amazon and order a few. Sponsorship is an aspect of business; it’s not done on a whim or out of the kindness of a business’s heart. Business is in the business of making a profit and every dollar spent in expenses, including sponsorship, has to make what is called a Return On Investment (ROI). Simply stated, ROI means any resource (money, time, etc.) invested into something (inventory, advertising, whatever) needs to yield a benefit that ultimately exceeds the value invested. In other words, if a business spends $100 on something such as sponsorship they expect to get far more than that $100 back in value.

That value isn’t always measured in increased sales or income. Businesses use sponsorships in sports, including motorsports, to provide entertainment for employees and customers. Sponsorship can help build a brand identity, for example making a brand seem more exciting or appealing to a given age and income demographic that are associated with the sponsored program. But regardless, a business needs a return.

Notice that we refer to our “marketing partners,” not our “sponsors.” We do this because it is our belief that the relationship we have with companies on our car is a two-way street. “Sponsorship” sounds more like a one-way street, many people think of it as someone giving you money just to go race and wear a decal. “Marketing Partner” describes a relationship where we, the racers, do everything we can to support and promote our partner, knowing that a happy partner is a long term partner. When people come up to us and ask us how to get sponsors we tell them, “First of all, always ask yourself what you can do for a potential marketing partner, not the other way around.”

The critical first steps in developing a marketing partner is finding and pitching a potential partner. You need to figure out companies that are a good fit for you and your team and than present them with a proposal that tells them all about you, the team and most importantly, what you can do for them. You can find good resources on the Internet on how to write a good proposal and you should research this before you write yours.

And this brings us to the Champion Spark Plug brand’s Search for a Champion (SFAC) contest. In the late fall of 2013 we became aware of this contest through social media and Ernie Saxton’s column in National Dragster. Elsewhere in this issue you can read Alex’s article on how she entered the 2014 contest, how it went for her and how to create your own entry.

The Champion brand has been around for over 100 years and offered the first removable spark plug ever made. Funny to think that once upon a time spark plugs were a permanent part of an engine. But then again, 100 years ago engines had just started to last long enough to wear plugs out. Champion has been involved with motorsports for a very long time too. Go watch the movies Rush or Senna, or any old footage from drag racing in the 1960’s and you’ll spot the iconic red, white and black Champion logo.