Nielsen Sports: On-board cameras at Indy 500 a marketing success

Nielsen Sports today released the results of its Sponsorship Scorecard service evaluating the effectiveness of sponsor-placed media during the 2006 Indianapolis 500. The data demonstrate that a brand’s location had a significant impact on the number of impressions received.

The results — based on household impressions among adults 25-54 weighted to a 30-second duration — show that the highest number of impressions by viewers during the TV broadcast were recorded by “on-board cameras.” The cameras, mounted inside the cars, captured 30% of all Indy 500 impressions, compared to just 6% for the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Aaron’s 499 Talladega Speedway race.

Car size is a contributing factor in the number of brands captured during a race. There is more space on NASCAR stock cars for brand signage, which means brands are large enough to be picked up by external cameras. However, Indy 500 race cars have less available space, so logos are smaller and rely more on close-ups from the on-board cameras to be effectively identified.

The use of on-board cameras was not the only factor in determining impression totals during the Indianapolis 500. Brand exclusivity played a key role as well. Honda, which was the exclusive provider of car engines for the race, received over 237 million impressions, the largest number among all sponsors.

Driver performance was also critical to brand exposure. Scorecard results revealed that sponsor-placed media on cars that led the most laps received a greater number of impressions. For example, Target, which sponsored two drivers (Dan Weldon and Scott Dixon), received the highest number of impressions (57 million) among team-specific sponsors. Weldon finished fourth, but led far more laps — 148 — than any other driver.

“These results from the Indianapolis 500 clearly show how Scorecard’s research and insights empower sponsors to maximize the value out of their sports sponsorships,” said Ron Schneier, general manager of Nielsen Ventures. “Teams and sponsors can better measure return on investment, and more effectively assess where to place brands, especially within fast-paced and heavily sponsored events like auto racing.”

The Sponsorship Scorecard service provides both a ratings currency and a reliable means of verification for sponsor-placed media in all televised sporting events. With the service, sports franchises and sponsors can determine which locations lead to the greatest number of impressions.