Kansas City, Mo. - NASCAR and the National Guard may not be match made in advertising heaven. New data shows the military organization spent more than $26 million to sponsor NASCAR racing back in 2012.
It didn’t work out as planned and the campaign failed to sign up a single new soldier to its ranks that year.
Over the past three years, the National Guard has put $88 million in NASCAR. However, Guard representatives would not reveal how many, if any, recruits they’ve gained since that first year of no recruits.
Thursday, a hearing was held in Washington, D.C. on the recruitment program. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill took part, where she accused the National Guard of wasting money. She said the campaign was doomed from the start and that the Guard’s target audience is 18 to 24-year-olds. That particular demographic only makes up about 10 percent of NASCAR’s audience, which tends to skew older.
McCaskill believes it’s time for the National Guard to put the brakes on the operation.
“You can’t spend taxpayer money if we’re not getting a good return on our investment. So, they need to look at other ways of recruiting that will be more effective and perhaps give up the sponsorship of NASCAR,” she said.
Despite the numbers, a National Guard spokesperson said the NASCAR sponsorship is an important marketing tool. For instance, they said Dale Earnhardt Junior’s Daytona 500 win generated the equivalent of millions of dollars in advertising for the Guard.