Earlier this week, jetmaker Gulfstream Aerospace and Team Penske, operator of the Indycar and NASCAR racing teams, announced a multi-year agreement to create unique cross-promotional opportunities for the two brands.
Team Penske, owned by self-made racing billionare Roger Penske, was formerly known as Penske Racing until earlier this month when it made the change to streamline engagement for both fans and the media. At 76, Penske is the powerhouse behind Team Penske and a dozen other successful ventures, including Penske Automotive and Penske Truck Leasing. Known as "The Captain", Penske is on several Boards of Director and is, in fact, a former director of Gulfstream Aerospace. Penske owns a Gulfstream G450, with the appropriate registration of N500PR - the 500 referencing the Indy 500, and PR being Roger Penske's initials, inverted.
Team Penske has three cars in the Indycar series, two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, and three cars in the NASCAR Nationwide series. Drivers include Juan Pablo Montoya, who is a long time cross-series racer, joining Team Penske for the 2014 season; Brad Keselowski, who owns championship titles in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series, and Joey Logano, who was named Sprint Cup's Rookie of the Year in 2009.
Although it's not clear from the press release if the Gulfstream name will adorn any of Team Penske's racecars, or other ways the cross-promotional activities will effect the brands. But Scott Neal, Gulfstream's VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing, in making the announcement, emphasized the brand importance: "Like Gulfstream, the team is known for its reliability, efficiency, speed and teamwork. So this is a natural fit - one great brand supporting another."
According to Courney Scharf of TrendReports.com, brand collaboration has become an increasingly popular way to supercharge innovation - and raise cross brand awareness. The Gulfstream brand, according to Forbes, is "prestigious and synonymous with quality and performance" and is targeted at wealthy business owners and executives. Team Penske, personified by Roger Penske himself, has been viewed as tenacious, goal oriented and driven. The two different race series that Team Penske participates in have two different audiences. IndyCar has glamour attached to it, perhaps because of the look of the open wheel cars and large numbers of foreign drivers. NASCAR has the twang of southern country in it, from its racers to commentators, and has a homegrown, good 'ole boy feel to it.
Stereotypes aside, Gulfstream will have the chance to show off their executive jets to owners, drivers, fellow sponsors and the organizers. And Team Penske, working together with Gulfstream, will enhance and strengthen their brand.