Partners on track.
Fastenal, North America's leading distributor of industrial fasteners, tools and equipment, is the primary sponsor of Carl Edwards and his No. 99 Ford team in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. If Edwards' prior performance is any indication, the move to the Sprint Cup Series for Fastenal will bring fan and media attention both to the team and to the Fastenal brand – and uniquely to some of Fastenal's key supplier brands.
As a “primary” sponsor, Fastenal receives the bulk of the branding on Edwards’ No. 99 Ford, including the car, driver/crew uniforms, team pits and equipment. Fastenal chooses to promote their brand predominantly with their own colors and logos, but also takes advantage of “pass-through” rights to include their supplier partners, such as Lenox, Wypall, Greenfield Industries, Milwaukee, Gearwrench, Rustoleum and Metabo, all of which benefit from the same premium exposure for certain races in the season. Not only do these pass-through programs strengthen business relationships for Fastenal, but the tactic helps their suppliers involved in race-related promotions realize growth of 15-22%.
Other key activations from the Roush Fenway partnership include use of driver's likeness in trade advertising, hosting 8,000 guests in 2010 to bolster business and vendor relationships, and show car events.
More on primary sponsorship and pass-through rights
Primary sponsorship refers to the sponsor who controls the majority of the team's attributes, typically including the graphics scheme of the car, team uniforms, pit area branding, car transporter paint scheme, etc. As you can imagine, this is a powerful asset in total. Often for business purposes, a primary sponsor will activate pass-through rights to grant another brand use of their attributes, sharing, say, space on the car itself for the "associate" sponsor's brand. Associates might even get uniforms and other at-track or off-track assets, such as merchandising rights, for the duration of the agreement. A supplier type business may use pass-through to motivate a retailer to carry their products, or conversely, a retailer may use it to help secure a supplier relationship. Primary sponsors have also used it for altruistic reasons, such as passing through to a non-profit cause.