On the fast track
Salvatore 97 has spent his whole life racing toward a
career in cars. Hes come a long way since working at his fathers
auto-parts store: now he runs multi-million dollar sponsorship deals
for NASCAR. And hes learned theres a lot more to it
than pasting a company logo on a race car. Its a competitive
business, he says. You really have to promote your team
to capitalize on the sponsorship.
The communications graduate took a position at the Philadelphia-based
advertising firm of Harris Biao and McCullough in 1997. One of the
firms clients sponsored the #99 NASCAR racing team of driver
Jeff Burton. To cash in on NASCARs growth, the company steered
big funding into the team and asked HB&M to organize the sponsorship.
After arranging countless public appearances, commercials and special
events, HB&M is now a leader in NASCAR promotion. Salvatore
is an integral part of the process, attending races to promote his
clients. With todays sponsorship packages approaching $18
million, ad-execs have to work full-throttle to maximize returns
on their investments. Sometimes the hours get crazy,
he says. But you have to remind yourself that what youre
doing for a living is what most fans do for fun.
Salvatore works to link those fans with drivers and their sponsors.
NASCAR has a great connection with its fans, so we try to
get the drivers out with the people as much as possible, he
says. The fans appreciate his efforts. Its incredible
to be riding around with Jeff Burton and see how crazy the fans
go when they see him, he says.
Salvatore has a special incentive to make sure NASCARs supporters
get noticed. Parts Plus Auto Parts, corporate owner of his dads
store, is now one of NASCARs biggest sponsors.