If chatter is the telltale, the new animated movie, Turbo—which centers around a snail that aspires to race in the Indianapolis 500 and is scheduled for release in July—is the greatest thing to happen to the '500' and IndyCar racing since...well...whatever the last great thing was to happen to the Indy 500 and IndyCar racing.
But here's the rub. In my opinion, if open-wheel racing in America is to properly capitalize on the opportunity, IndyCar has to leverage it—proactively.
Just hoping a bunch of kids trot out to see it (which they will) and instantly become IndyCar fans (which is up for debate) isn't enough.
When you watched Hoosiers, did you start following high school hoops? Maybe. When you saw Ricky Booby take on Jean Girard, did you become a NASCAR fan? Perhaps.
The point is, the odds are better if you activate.
As much as I'd like to think there's a buzzing war room at 16th and Georgetown dedicated to making the most of the opportunity, I doubt there is. If I'm wrong, tell me—I'll be happy to take the hit.
For my part, here's four random ideas on how to convert Turbo fans into IndyCar aficionados.
|What good is a turbo, if you don't light it up?
Give credit where credit is due
Pay to be in the movie. It's simple: Once the credits roll—or whenever—the 2014 Indy 500 logo pops up, with the date of the event, and the verbiage, "To learn more about the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar racing, visit Indy500.com." Maybe throw in some authentic turbo whine for an aural element.
The Turbo trailer trailer
Loaded with flat-screens, blasting the movie's trailer; crazy cool graphics; simulators; some real Indy-cars; and more, it travels to all the races, goes to kids' museums, and other highly populated locales spreading the gospel of the almighty open-wheel car.
In Hollywood—of course. Get cars out there—old and new—like we did for IZOD [weeps]. Lots of drivers: Dario, Hinch, RHR, Helio, Sim, and Pip (a natural with the little ones) for starts. Be VISIBLE. Make people understand that IndyCar racing is a real-life discipline they can actually experience. It's obvious to us, but it may not be to them.
At the Speedway. Of course! Picture this: It's nighttime...the pagoda is replete in lights...there's a movie screen nearly the size of the one at Marco's crib—let's say, like 300' wide (work with me here)—positioned on the front stretch, and the stands are PACKED with anyone that wants to attend. FREE. This time, the stars come to us—red carpet, Entertainment Tonight, main-stream media, real-life snail races, whatevs! Again, your relating the imaginary to the real.
Will it work? Can we afford it? Hell, I don't know, I'm just the idea man.
Look. I came up with this fluff in an hour or so, when I should have been working. The point is, what if some peeps who are actually smart really thought about it? Then we make the most of the opportunity. But if you don't activate, it's a fail...and if you wait too late to activate, it's a fail. The planning needs to be done NOW, and the promotion needs to start NOW.
C'mon, IMS & IndyCar... We got this! Pssst... will relocate for funds.
Be the one-billionth person to watch the official Turbo trailer, here.