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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

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Sports Business

Nature's Bakery rolling out big plans to capitalize on Danica Patrick deal

September 15, 2015
KEYWORDS Sports Business

Don’t expect NASCAR driver Danica Patrick to be any less visible in 2016 despite losing sponsor powerhouse GoDaddy after his season.

Her new sponsor for next year, though relatively small by business—and NASCAR sponsor—standards, is rolling out big plans to keep the popular Patrick in the spotlight.

Though details of the sponsorship deal with Nature’s Bakery were not released, officials for Patrick’s team, Stewart-Haas Racing, said the deal is for at least three years. Sources inside NASCAR said Stewart-Haas was looking for $18 million annually to replace GoDaddy. While Stewart-Haas officials declined to elaborate on what they got from Nature’s Bakery, they said they didn’t have to settle for less than what they wanted due to the company’s relatively small size.

If that’s true, forking out $54 million for a company not in the Fortune 500 is a big chunk of dough.

Officials for Nature’s Bakery are putting together plans on how to use Patrick to promote its products at the track, and especially how to connect with women and children, demographic segments she has a huge following with.

Its sponsorship with Patrick will be a big element in the company’s plans to double sales over the next two years, said Nature’s Bakery’s Dave Marson.

Nature’s Bakery’s 2014 sales hit $100 million, said officials for the Nevada-based company.

The main thrust in the deal’s first year will be establishing the brand. Nature’s Bakery officials plan to blanket NASCAR tracks nationwide giving out their various flavored fig bars during race weekends.

They also plan to do some business-to-business networking with other NASCAR sponsors, most notably convenience stores such as Love’s Travel Stops and Pilot Flying J. Nature’s Bakery, which was founded in 2010, is already in many grocery stores, but it would like to get into more convenience stores, where it doesn’t have much of a presence.

Nature’s Bakery’s deal with Stewart-Haas Racing allows them to incorporate the logo of Nature’s Bakery’s distributors on its space on Patrick’s car, which could help the company expand its distribution channels.

Another part of the plan to grow the company’s brand and expand its distribution channels will be in-store displays prominently featuring Patrick. Think life-sized cutouts of the driver in her racing suit.

The second and third years will focus on integrating large media buys.

Patrick, a former IndyCar Series star, will be front and center in many of those plans, Nature’s Bakery officials said.

Patrick, 33, said at a recent press conference introducing her new sponsor that Nature’s Bakery slogan, "Energy for life’s great journeys," is a perfect fit for her as she continues her attempt at scaling the NASCAR Sprint Cup ranks.

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