The Izod IndyCar Fan Village is hitting each of tracks that the racing series runs this year, and presents a solution to an interesting challenge. How can a single event environment give key sponsors a unique presence in a brand village environment, while maintaining an overarching look and feel?
The design team at Marketing Werks solved the puzzle by creating an event footprint that is home to sponsor brands such as Honda and Verizon, but ties in a look and feel that’s all IndyCar. Check it out.
The goal of the Fan Village was to increase Indycar’s brand affinity with fans at the track, as well as their partner sponsors and brands. In the past, the fan experience was usually located off-track with minimal design and few participating sponsors. Marketing Werks senior director Andrew
Connell and his team wanted to revamp the village and make it a go-to experience for fans at the track, particularly when there was no racing on the track.
Designers set out to create a cohesive experience that fans would recognize year after year, and from track to track. Sponsors set up shop in similar IndyCar tent environments, with room for their own branding messages. This helped cut down on visual clutter in the village.
“It’s more of an Indycar village with sponsors participating,” Connell says.
Once visitors enter through a large entrance marquee archway, the main focal point of the footprint is a tractor-trailer with a drop deck stage and a 20-by-eight foot LED curtain display.
The LED curtain allows sponsors to utilize the space for ads and promos throughout the race weekend, while an emcee runs giveaways, contests, and special events such as racer autograph sessions onstage.
In between promos, the screen runs live racing footage and live chats with race teams on the track.
Each sponsor has its own footprint within the village, and personalizes the space as they see fit. Examples: Honda has a modified car display with souped-up cars to draw in the crowds; Verizon has a racing simulator leveraging its Xoom tablet computers as steering wheels; Hot Wheels has an I-racing simulator onsite for fans to check out; National Guard has local guardsmen bring their assets onsite from market to market, as well a shooting games.
Designers faced challenges including designing properties that could be set up in a variety of footprints.
“[Setups] definitely vary from track to track. We have both oval and street course tracks and they vary widely because an oval track is a set space and street courses are more spread out,” Connell says.
The modular nature of the village setup was critical, as no two footprints are the same at the racetracks.
The design team also took the elements into account when creating the village, as all of the events are outdoors. Each sponsor tent footprint is self-contained and can be closed off in the rain, while the faux wall that the LED screen is mounted on is on tracks so it can be moved back into the truck if needed.
Install now takes about a day-and-a-half, dismantle begins when the race starts and is down within five hours. All the elements in the village fit inside the tractor-trailer for transport from one race to the next.
“The biggest challenge was creating an environment that was unmistakably IndyCar, but with space for brands to get their messaging out to the crowd,” Connell says.