By Maegan Rocio
Location affects advertising experience, or so one Baylor professor hopes to prove through his research.
Dr. Kirk Wakefield, professor & holder of the Edwin W. Streetman Professorship in Retail Management at Baylor, conducted a study to examine how fans attending a live event react to sports advertising. Wakefield will take the results, which he is still receiving, from the study and compare them to the national average of fans that watched the event on TV and viewed advertisements during the broadcast. The study was conducted from Nov. 16 -18, during the last NASCAR race of the season, at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.
“It’s the first study that measures physical fan engagement with the sponsor,” he said. “It compares NASCAR fans that are fully engaged with the average person in America that sees advertising from Coke, Verizon or Best Buy,” he said.
Data was collected by setting up Radio Frequency Identification stations around the facility. NASCAR fans at the event signed up during the race for a promotional contest and were instructed to check into 12 different locations while wearing a lanyard that contained the Radio Frequency Identification microchip.
When fans visited each location, they were instructed to scan their lanyard at various areas in each location. Each location had different activities fans could participate in, such as games and contests. Wakefield said if fans visited all 12 locations, they would be eligible to win a sweepstakes prize. He said he checked the RFID stations to see which brand name event fans visited.
“Using RFID, we’re able to determine the effects of fans interacting with sponsors and displays at NASCAR events with actual attitudes and mind behaviors associated with brands,” he said.
Anne Rivers, the senior vice president and global director of brand strategy at BrandAsset Consulting in New York City, said she and her company worked on the proposal for the study.
“We were just working to get the proposal in and do a brand research on sponsorships,” she said. “We do it for corporate clients and teams. It is consistent with what we do all the time.”
Wakefield said more data will be collected from a post-race survey given to the fans to help sponsors know the return on their investments. Wakefield said all the data from the surveys will be in by Friday.
Wakefield said sponsors will receive information about their property and learn how effective their advertisements are.
“The track will learn how to be more effective with sponsorship strategies to attach the marketing and theory research,” he said. “They will also learn about fan engagement.”
Wakefield said he and his associates created a hypothesis about the results of his study.
“We had to hypothesize between relation of frequency of interacting with sponsors and their attitudes and buying behavior for the brands,” he said. “If you were there for three days, more than eight hours, engaging with displays and playing games, you would have a more favorable attitude toward the sponsor.”
Rivers said the study has been completed but not all of the data has been compiled.
Wakefield said Rivers and her company will compare the results of the average national attitudes about each brand to the attitudes of fans that attended the NASCAR race.
Wakefield said he plans to continue his research beyond this study.
“We plan to do follow up with the Australian Open in tennis,” he said. “We’re looking at similar a relationship with the RFID, more integrated into the sponsorship engagement displays.”
Eric Smallwood, the senior vice president of Front Row Marketing Services & Front Row Analytics in Port Huron, Mich., and Liam Weseloh, the regional vice president of the company, also helped Wakefield in the study.
The study was funded by The Wharton School’s Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative.