There’s a lot going this week at the Daytona, Fla., area Walmart stores as NASCAR gears up for the start of its season with the Daytona 500. Between special activities in store parking lots and promotions involving NASCAR merchandise, Walmart has effectively positioned itself as the one-stop destination for race fans. While the Daytona 500 is a big deal, it’s really just a warm up act for Walmart.
The retailer has activities planned at stores nationwide in markets where NASCAR races are held throughout the 10-month season, but when things promise to get really interesting is this summer when racing returns to Daytona for the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday, July 7. That’s when Walmart for the first time in its history will sponsor a car in conjunction with its 50th anniversary and long-time fan favorite Bill Elliott will un-retire for the race to pilot the number 50 Walmart Chevrolet Impala. Elliott hasn’t won a race since 2003 and at 56 years of age he’s a long-shot to take the checkered flag in the Coke Zero 400. But racing isn’t all about winning, from the sponsor’s perspective anyway, and Walmart’s decision to engage Elliott is a shopper and brand marketers dream come true. America’s favorite retailer, NASCAR’s favorite driver (sorry Junior) and the world’s favorite carbonated beverage together for the July 4 weekend to help the nation celebrates its birthday and Walmart observes its 50th anniversary. Does it get any better than that? Look out Action Alley!
Elliott’s performance in the race is incidental because Walmart will have already activated its sponsorship in a variety of ways with sales generating activities during a key seasonal period. And if that weren’t enough, the company has already generated a decent return on its investment from the enormous volume of earned media it has already received and will continue to receive as the event draws nearer.
To check out a photo of Walmart’s 50th anniversary car, click here.