As the 2016 presidential election approaches, both presidential candidates are getting in some last minute campaigning. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Vice President hopeful Mike Pence will be featured on Reed Sorenson’s Toyota Camry for NASCAR’s Texas 500 Sunday, November 6.
The Trump Pence Logo will appear on the Hood of Sorenson’s number 55 Camry, the sides, and on the trunk. While not the first time a political candidate utilized NASCAR’s famously loyal fan-base to promote themselves, but it might be the most polarizing. Linking with this political statement like it or not, will be a variety of sponsors on the car, or associated with the team for most other races including: Goodyear Tires, Mobil 1, Sherman Williams, Mennen Speed Stick, Hyatt Hotels, Mobil 1, and Toyota.
As a sponsor of Sorenson, could sharing space with the Trump/ Pence ticket be controversial for the other brands associated with this team? A presidential candidate will undoubtedly have their supporters, but what about the opposition supporters? Should a brand avoid this type of partisanship and consider opting out of their sponsorship commitment for the Texas 500 to avoid potential controversy?
In another sport, the opposite is happening as a controversy is boiling over regarding an LPGA tournament scheduled to take place at a Trump-owned golf course which may result in a players’ boycott.
Performance Research is one of the world’s leaders in sponsorship research and analysis and has spent years helping sponsors and properties navigate just this type of situation. Check out our presentation at IEG’s 31st Annual Sponsorship Conference in 2014 seen here: Taking a Stand– How Consumers React When Sponsorship Turns Into Criticism And Controversy