ARIZONA 811 has always strived to be a leader in the damage prevention industry. For organizations like Arizona 811, where a great amount of effort is focused on educating and raising awareness about safe digging practices, face-to-face interactions with all stakeholders in the community are vital. For years, Arizona 811 has hosted many in-person events, such as Damage Prevention & Safety Seminars for those whose job involves excavation, as well as participated in numerous community events to increase general public awareness of the importance of using the 811 process before any digging project. As 2020 became a challenging year for everyone, we, like so many others, had to evolve to our “new normal,” which replaced inperson interactions with virtual ones, almost exclusively. To make up for this loss, we needed to find other creative and effective ways to continue to expose our message of using 811 before digging in front of the general public – even though they needed to stay home.
Arizona 811 has partnered with Phoenix Raceway for the past couple years to sponsor their “Know before you go” Quick Links page on phoenixraceway. com, providing NASCAR race fans in attendance or in their massive campground with important information about events occurring throughout race weekend. The catchy “Know before you go” title was a natural tie to our use of the national tag line, “Know what’s below,” so it was great having it feature scrolling Arizona 811 graphics informing one of our industry’s best known demographics – NASCAR fans – about the need to use the 811 process for EVERY digging project. Other advertising assets at the race included video commercials running on every digital screen and our PSA announcements heard throughout the entire venue.
Fortunately, the March 2020 race, which turned out to be the last live NASCAR race with fans in attendance, was at full capacity, so we received great benefit from our sponsorship. While advertising assets extended into November’s NASCAR Championship Weekend, attendance was restricted to 25%, so, like too many other 2020 events, we needed to cancel our participation. As the March 2021 race approached, we were again faced with attendance restrictions, which challenged us to seek a more effective way to get our message to these critical race fans.
In January, 2021, Phoenix Raceway offered Arizona 811 just such an opportunity to expand our exposure by becoming the official title sponsor for March’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race. We could name it, design the trophy, AND be the honorary Grand Marshals. We would have our logo and message on the asphalt with banners on the walls, and our commercials would be running on the jumbotron throughout the day. Some of this would be visible on TV when action occurred near them, but not nearly as much as the race name and logo, which would ALWAYS be visible throughout the entire broadcast. We could have easily named the race the “Arizona 811 200” but, to us, it was important for the name to project a clear and complete call to action for everybody who saw it.
Phoenix Raceway’s press release announcing the official title sponsorship included a video featuring Sandra Holmes, Arizona 811 Executive Director, presenting a special oversized shovel containing the official race logo for the “Call 811 Before You Dig 200” to Scott Rovn, NASCAR’s Western Regional Vice President of Sales. Arizona 811 immediately took to social media to share the news and featured opportunities for followers to win tickets to attend the race. The announcement made headlines in multiple online sports publications and social media posts. The race name got its own Wikipedia page as well as special attention from a FOX Sports NASCAR reporter for being one of NASCAR’s most unique.
Arizona 811 took the opportunity to run nationally exposed radio commercials on the Motor Racing Network to further expand national awareness that “underground pipelines and utilities are everywhere” so it’s important for everyone to always contact 811 prior to any digging project, big or small.
The exciting race was televised on FOX Sports 1 to a national audience of more than 1.3 million people who saw our industry’s call to action while watching Austin Cindric (Team Penske’s #22) win, become an honorary “Damage Prevention & Safety Partner,” and take home a unique trophy featuring a shovel with its blade penetrating grass, surrounded by the familiar colors of locating flags. Post-race coverage online exposed our message to an additional audience of many millions.
Alejandra Ocano-Gonzalez is Education & Awareness Manager with Arizona 811.