Canadian Tire and Dr Pepper race at the Indy

First-time sponsor Canadian Tire is adding the Honda Indy to its roster of racing sponsorships while returning sponsor Dr Pepper targets fast-paced young males.

Is Canadian Tire the brand that could bring back the golden age of the Honda Indy in Toronto and Edmonton? Fans and sports media have been saying so since the retailer annouced Thursday that it had signed on as a sponsor for this year’s Honda Indy, which takes place in Toronto on July 16, 17 and 18.

After a one-year break in 2008, the event returned last year with Honda as a new title sponsor. Canadian Tire’s involvement -  the retailer has rich heritage in racing as a sponsor of NASCAR and Canadian racing legend Ron Fellows – this year is expected to fuel the kind of excitement for the race that was seen back in the 1970s. It’s also a logical sponsorship for a brand built around cars, Rebecca Mills, spokesperson for Canadian Tire, tells MiC.

‘As one of the largest automotive retailers in Canada, we help customers be ready for driving, and it’s a logical leap from that to racing,’ she says.

Handled by brand activation agency TrojanOne, the sponsorship gives Canadian Tire naming rights to the pit row and paddock, apparel for the more than 500 race volunteers and sponsorship of an outdoor lounge and race-area green spaces. Activations are handled by TK Events and High Road Communications.

‘It gives customers an opportunity to interact and to see the possibilities of what you can do with the products that we sell,’ says Mills.

Returning sponsor Dr Pepper is the other major brand involved in the race, with the sponsorship handled internally by the brand.

‘The Honda Indy demographic and the Dr Pepper consumer align perfectly. They are high-energy and fast-paced young males; they are confident, independent and they always want more,’ says Libier Gomez, VP of marketing for Canada Dry Mott’s.

Dr Pepper is providing two Chill Zones for consumers to hang out in between races, and the Dr Pepper Grandstand offers seats and special treatment for ticketholders in that section, who will receive samples and prizes.