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Indianapolis Motor Speedway increases brand awareness via mobile photo sharing

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is tapping into mobile photo sharing as part of its marketing campaign to promote the upcoming Indy 500 race.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the first brand to leverage Venueseen?s API, which enables the brand to use its Instagram photos into other marketing channels, such as its Web site. The racing organization is also using mobile photo sharing as part of a sweepstakes that entices race car fans to participate.

?Instead of being limited to liking and commenting on Instagram, the Venueseen API gives the Indy 500 the ability to pull photos off of Instagram and into their cross-channel marketing campaigns,? said Brian Zuercher, CEO of Venueseen, Dublin, OH.

?For the marketing team at the Indy 500, there is no better way to tell the story and journey of the race than through their most passionate fans,? he said.

?The authentic and rich content in the photos shows the race and atmosphere from the fan's perspective. By encouraging fans to share their Instagram photos in the months leading up to the race, the Indy 500 is able to extend the life of their campaign and the user-generated content. Additionally, having fans share photos leading up to the race is a great way to accomplish the Indy 500's other goals of ticket and fan gear promotion and sales.?

Mobile race
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Instagram campaign primarily lives through the hashtag #Indy500orBust.

The goal is to engage racing car fans via content that builds the brand?s authenticity leading up to the Indy 500 race, which takes place over Memorial Day weekend.

Once consumers post a tagged photo, a comment is published that encourages users to enter an upcoming sweepstakes by visiting the campaign?s microsite at The prize package will include airfare, tickets to Indy 500 races and hotel accomodations.

Additionally, by using Venueseen API, the racing organization is able to post photos on an interactive map for consumers.

To help promote the Instagram campaign, calls-to-action are being placed on several marketing mediums. For instance, the hashtag is printed on helmets and cars.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is also using print, email and video to spread the word.

Engaged fans
With sports fans increasingly taking to their mobile devices to share photos and content, taking advantage of photo sharing is a smart way for The Indianapolis Motor Speedway to incorporate mobile into its marketing mix.

In particular, marketers view Instagram as a way to marry mobile and social efforts.

One of the challenges with Instagram campaigns though is adding longevity to campaigns to get the most out of user-generated content.

In this case, promoting the Indy 500 Instagram hashtag across multiple mediums helps the organization incorporate the technology into a broader strategy,

?While 2012 was dubbed the year of visual storytelling, sophisticated marketers know they barely scratched the surface,? Mr. Zuercher said.

?Billions of photos were shared on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, yet marketers struggled to connect photo-driven contests to meaningful business outcomes,? he said.

?Photo sharing has become a major way that consumers can broadcast their excitement for a brand. Additionally, photos have one of the highest rates of engagement from consumers. The Indy 500 recognizes this and is tapping into the trend so that they can increase their fans' level of engagement by creating a more visual experience. Specifically for very visual events like the Indy 500, it is especially important to communicate the power of the event through visual content.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York