Broadening the Reach
Pedal to the metal
Based on participant turnout for just two events, 30 percent to 40 percent had no prior connection to Crohn’s, a stat that elicits a hearty and enthusiastic Koman laugh. “This is significant,” he says. “These are people who wanted to do good; they just decided to do good with us.”
One of Koman’s more successful efforts was a NASCAR racing pledge event, held Oct. 3, 2004, at the Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del., where participants were required to raise or donate either $500 to ride or $1,500 to drive. To Koman’s surprise, many riders dismissed the idea of sitting shotgun and anted up the big bucks to motor an official NASCAR vehicle down Dover’s “Monster Mile.”
As part of the marketing plan to promote “Speed the Cure,” CCFA purchased display advertising space in NASCAR Scene magazine, a 600,000-plus circulation weekly published by Street & Smith’s Sports Group.
“Do you know how many readers wrote us from all over the place, saying, ‘I didn’t know about your organization. I have the disease,’” says Koman, a rare NASCAR-aware New Yorker. “Since you have so many people who are passionate about this sport, the reaction we get is, ‘I have no problem writing a check for $1,500 to participate.’”
What’s more, for added exposure the foundation manufactured a line of NASCAR twill jackets (which sold out), hats, T-shirts, mugs and key chains — available to shoppers online at www.CCFA.org. A special car will even race in the NASCAR Busch series, driven by CCFA’s 2004 Driver of the Year and former professional hockey player Dion Ciccarelli, whose brother Ray was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2003.
“Reaching somebody who fits the profile of the NASCAR world is going to be totally different than reaching somebody who’s a junior golfer,” Koman says, commenting on the nuances of targeting audiences unique to CCFA. “By going after various segments, we’re slowly but surely penetrating a wide segment of the marketplace.”