May 7, 2012

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Racing & Stanley Works

By Brian Danko, Staff Writer
The New Britain Herald & Bristol Press

 

NEW BRITAIN, CT----While Stanley Works and Stanley Tools have always been associated with the Hardware City, Stanley and their other brand of hand and power tools are one of NASCAR’s longest and best know sponsors on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit.

For a while, Stanley scaled back their sponsorship but for the past few years, the Stanley brand name along with other Stanley owned products like DeWalt, Black and Decker, MAC Tools and over 30 different brands have graced the number 9 car owned by NASCAR legend, Richard Petty and driven by Marcos Ambrose.

“Our CEO, John Lundgren and our EVP and COO Jim Loree believe in getting out our brand names and what they represent.” Scott Bannell, Vice President in charge of brand management and licensing said recently. “We have over 30 different brands world wide and they need to be invested in as well as our European brands.”

Bannell, himself a race fan as a youngster remembers going to Thompson Speedway, Stafford Speedway and of course, his days spent at Joe Tinty’s Plainville Stadium.

“My job is to oversee all of our brand sponsorship and where it goes. Besides NASCAR and the Sprint Cup sponsorship, we are also active in Major League Baseball and Disney as well as other sponsorships worldwide.” But he added that while Stanley does a lot, they are smaller in comparison to other companies.

While Stanley Tools started off in the then Busch series and sponsored a variety of different drivers, it was that exposure that allowed Stanley to track their sponsorship and they couldn’t be happier, especially now that they are and have been the sponsor of the Ambrose driven car the past couple of years.

“We’re glad that we worked our way up and now that we are a full time sponsor, we love it that we are in all 36 races. We took six years off as a sponsor but our support of NASCAR has gone on for over 15 years and while many other sponsors have come and gone Stanley Tools and our other owned brands continues to be there. It’s been a fun ride.”

Scott said like many drivers who start out racing on the local level and hope on moving up, it is the same with companies who sponsor a particular team or driver.

While racing is an expensive sport, it is the corporate sponsors who keep NASCAR teams racing on the track and racing in front of hundreds of thousands each of the 36 races as well as millions of race fans worldwide on television and radio.

So while company sponsorship is paramount to success on the track, it must also work for the company spending their dollars and Stanley and its other brands of watching their dollars at work.

“We have 20 different ways of measuring our NASCAR sponsorship and the total brand impressions that we get. We also track the numbers from Australia, (Ambrose native country). We will track the television hits, radio spots, even newspapers and photos and then turn them into dollars.”

One of the other big promotions that they do is having in clients, bringing them to the races, feeding them, giving them pit area tours and tickets to the race. They will also have Richard Petty and Marcos Ambrose there to talk with their clients.

“We will generally do about 10 different tracks each year where we will bring in guest and entertain them. We will do Stanley at some races, DeWalt at some and like at Richmond Raceway we will have a hospitality tent for MAC Tools and their guests.”

Scott also said what they do at a track like Sears Point near San Francisco might be a lot different than what they do for clients at Texas.

Scott said that they generally have Stanley on the hood for 18 races (the preferred spot for sponsorship) and DeWalt on the hood for 18, but this year they took 2 from each and will have MAC Tools on the hood.

“If Stanley is on the hood, DeWalt is the rear quarter panel and if DeWalt is on the hood, Stanley is on the quarter panel so all of our brands are on the car for all 36 events.”

NASCAR fans, marketing experts have shown are the most brand loyal and that is one of the reasons why companies put their sponsorship dollars in racing and NASCAR in particular.

Ricky Raducha, owner of New Britain based Driver Connection is a company that helps locate sponsors and helps them get into racing and he sees what auto racing can do for a company, “If you do it and do it right, the cost of sponsorship to return is amazing.”

When I asked Bannell what it is like to be associated with Richard Petty and Petty Motorsports, he beamed with excitement.

“They are a great team to be with. We were with the number 9 car when Ray Evernham owned the team and then when Petty owned it. Richard is a great ambassador not only for Stanley and our brands but all of NASCAR.” Scott said adding, “We will have Richard in here to talk with our employees and he is just a wonderful.”

Besides their NASCAR sponsorship, Stanley is back as the presenting sponsor of the New Britain Rock Cats.

“We have been the presenting sponsor the past five or six years but we have been with them for over 15 years. I think it been a great relationship for us as well as the Rock Cats. We have our suite that we entertain in and many of our employees love taking their families to the games.”

While Stanley Tools is a local company with many generations of families working there, it is the NASCAR sponsorship and the worldwide attention of NASCAR that today still keeps thousands of locals employed.

Brian Danko has been covering Auto Racing for over 30 years for various magazines & and racing papers including Area Auto Racing News. His weekly column can be seen "In Print" in The New Britain Hearld & The Bristol Press.

 

Copyright © 2012 Brian Danko