What’s Wrong with this Picture?


Starting on Sunday with the Daytona 500, the #31 car of Jeff Burton will be sponsored by Caterpillar. For the past ten years, Caterpillar has been the primary sponsor for the #22 car. So for the past ten years, CAT has been pouring money into NASCAR to have its logo on the hood of a car.

What’s wrong with that?

Caterpillar just announced the other day that it will be laying off 20,000 workers in the coming months. 20,000 jobs will be lost but Jeff Burton will have their logo on his hood come Sunday. I don’t know much about NASCAR sponsorship costs but we’d have to assume to be the hood sponsor, it’s not cheap. Probably several million dollars. Wouldn’t it make sense for that money to be saved and given instead to some of those employees so they can keep their jobs.

The argument for sponsoring a sports stadium, NASCAR team, sporting event is that you put your brand out there for everyone to see and people remember your brand later when it comes to making decisions on items to purchase. Well Caterpillar has been sponsoring cars for seventeen years yet over the next few months they’ll still have to lay off 20,000 employees? Doesn’t it seem like that advertising strategy hasn’t been working enough to justify the cost?

Of course CAT will never end a car sponsorship if they can help it. And for some reason that’s ok. Same with Citi Field in New York or Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The reality is that today those names are kind of a joke. A punch line and a reflection of disaster, not constant adverts. They’re fast approaching Enron Field status.


2 Responses to What’s Wrong with this Picture?

  1. Trey says:

    You know why Caterpillar wanted to sponsor Jeff Burton? They used to sponser him a couple of years ago and one day on John Boy and Billy, Jeff was trying to talk about his sponsor and kept having trouble saying, Caterpillar. John Boy and Bill made fun of him for hours and it became a running gag. So now they want to sponsor him again so John Boy and Billy will talk about it and so Jeff will be funny by mispronouncing the name.

    That has nothing to do with the economics of it, but it’s funny.

  2. mao says:

    That is funny, I hadn’t heard that. It just makes me mad for a company to say we’re doing so poorly that we have to layoff thousands of employees (or get a government bailout) but we can still afford to sponsor a NASCAR team.

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