Busch Light leveraged spiking early season NASCAR interest around the 64th running of the Daytona 500 with the official launch of a new female talent ‘Accelerate Her’ driver sponsorship program and campaign.
Described as a first-of-its kind US programme, ‘Accelerate Her’ aims to pave the way for women drivers to make it to the elite level of NASCAR racing through direct funding, track time, mentoring and training, plus media exposure and inspirational ad and marketing support.
Busch is a long-standing sponsor of the sport – one of the three main NASCAR partners and a title partner of a leading NASCAR Cup Series race team – will redirect 25% of its total sponsorship budget entirely to supporting young female drivers (over the age of 21) and related marketing activities around them.
The spearhead ‘Busch Light ‘ Accelerate Her’ spot launched ahead of the Daytona 500 on 14 February and sought to drive viewers online to find out more about the initiative at busch.com/accelerateher.
‘Numbers are everything in NASCAR, explains a voiceover in the hero video presentation for ‘Accelerate Her’. ‘Right now there’s one number that stands out: zero’ (referring to the fact that there are currently no female drivers at the highest level of NASCAR).
The lead video is supported by a PR push, plus digital and social content linked by the #AccelerateHer hashtag.
The inaugural female driver recipients of the programme’s sponsorship and support package are Toni Breidinger, Natalie Decker, Amber Balcaen, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Brittney Zamora, Stephanie Moyer and Melissa Fifield.
“Super excited to be partnering up with Anheuser-Busch and Busch racing team,” said Stephanie Moyer in reaction to the project. “I am hoping to put on a good show throughout my part time season!”
“Busch Light has been an iconic sponsor in NASCAR for decades and we’ve been lucky to witness some of the greatest women drivers in history, but it can’t be argued that the NASCAR Cups Series field is dominated by male drivers,” said Senior Brand Director Of The Busch Family of Brands at Anheuser-Busch Krystyn Stowe. “Through our sponsorship rights and our platform, we’re seizing the opportunity to make historic progress toward gender inclusivity and while the immediate program goals may start here, we hope the sentiment will carry far beyond that, encouraging the broadest level of inclusivity across all sports.”
This kind of support to drive equality and gender change through the series is much needed. After all, the last woman to race at Cup Series level was Danica Patrick who retired after the 2018 Daytona 500.
Despite being one of the few sports where theoretically genders compete on equal terms and having a number of talented female drivers trying to climb the ranks into the top level of NASCAR, none are currently succeeding and many cite the struggle for funding, technical support and track time.
Like Busch, for whom this program is part of its umbrella focus on social justice (which younger consumers say is increasingly important to them), we hope this is an important step in the right direction.
This brand-backed programme has echoes of the Driver Academies that are dominating Formula 1 driver development.
This initiative indirectly links to fellow Anheuser-Busch brand Michelob Ultra’s current commitment to gender equality in sports – as illustrated by its 13 February Super Bowl ‘Superior Bowl’ campaign which saw big name male sports stars such as Peyton Manning, Jimmy Butler and Brooks Koepka upstaged by Serena Williams –and its $100m pledge to increase female visibility in sports.