Parker Kligerman is recognizable to most NASCAR fans. He’s seen by millions who tune into NBC Sports NASCAR coverage every week as a pit reporter and as an analyst on the NBC Sports Network’s weekday NASCAR America show.
But Kligerman brings a unique perspective to the airwaves. He also races part time in the NASCAR truck series. The 31-year-old Connecticut native is also active on social media as well as online racing platforms.
Recently however, Kligerman displayed another talent, and got fans a bargain in the process.
Any NASCAR driver knows that in addition to having skills behind the wheel the ability to market themselves, and add value for their sponsors, is almost as important. And Kligerman does very well at both.
Kligerman races for Henderson Motorsports, a team with a small budget. Knowing that funding is crucial to keeping his part time schedule last year he reached out on Twitter to a company that grabbed his attention a few months prior.
“I saw this company Fast pop up from some people I follow, and I was like ‘well that’s an interesting name,’” Kligerman said.
Fast specializes in an online checkout process that customers can use across multiple internet retailers. A relatively new company, Kligerman said he liked what he saw.
“It’s been so frustrating to buy things online,” Kligerman said. “You have to have different log-ins and fill out all your info continually and over and over again. And they solved that issue.”
Kligerman began to follow the company’s CEO Domm Holland on Twitter and had some interactions with him.
“I’ve always thought that many of those companies would be great to have,” Kligerman said. “Using motorsports as a platform to advertise and to grow their following.”
Last summer, Kligerman decided to reach to Holland and sent him a direct message on Twitter. He asked Holland if he has thought about advertising in motorsports.
“It was probably a little early for them,” Kligerman said. “We just kept in touch. Then about two months ago Domm reached out to me and sort of was interested in what it would do, what it would look like to sponsor a car.”
Fast signed up for a one sponsorship with Kligerman and the team for the NASCAR Truck series race at Nashville in June.
“At Fast we are always looking for unique ways to increase awareness for our brand and core product – Fast Checkout,” Matt Kobach, director of content marketing for Fast said. “We recognized that Fast is not well known in the NASCAR community, and we felt sponsoring Parker in June was an interesting bet for us to make in terms of a marketing activation. The response from the first race was overwhelmingly positive, so we decided to work together again on a second race.”
The marketing arm at Fast had run a special in the past, a campaign that worked well to create brand awareness.
“To get people excited to try Fast checkout, we would occasionally run $5 hoodie promotions,” Kobach said. “The response for these promotions always exceeds expectations.”
The $5 hoodie promotion was activated for the Nashville race, with the trigger being that if Kligerman finished in the top five, or better, fans would be able to get a $5 Fast branded hoodie. Kligerman finished 17th.
The second race for Kligerman and Fast was on the road course at Watkins Glen.
In the days leading up to the race, Kligerman was at an announcement for Fast in Tampa, Florida. The company was debuting their East Coast headquarters and Kligerman arrived at the announcement with company CEO Holland in the No. 75 NASCAR truck. During the event, while talking about using the $5 hoodie promotion for the Watkins Glen race, Kligerman got an idea.
“I put it out there,” Kligerman said. He told the marketing team,” ‘What if make it into the top five, we’ll make them a lower price or something?’”
Soon the $1 hoodie promotion came into being.
“After we did the $5 hoodie promotion with Parker in June, he asked if we could do a $1 hoodie based on how finished the race,” Kobach said. “We agreed that if he got a top 5 finish, we’d lower the price to $1.”
While every racer and NASCAR team race to win the reality, especially for a small team with a part time driver, is hope for a top 20 finish. Kligerman started 38th in the 40-truck field at Watkins Glen and was holding his own when fate, in the form of Mother Nature, intervened.
A lightning strike within 8 miles of the track stopped the race on lap 61 of 75. According to NASCAR’s safety protocols, the race had to be halted for at least 30 minutes. When the field was parked on pit road and the red flag displayed, Kligerman was lined up in fifth place.
While waiting the delay the TV broadcast singled out the No. 75 Fast sponsored truck and mentioned the $1 hoodie promotion. It was something that wasn’t part of the sponsorship and came as a total, and nice, surprise to the Fast Checkout staff.
“We were thrilled,” Kobach said. “It was fun to share with our entire team at Fast. As you might imagine, our company Slack channels were busier than normal for a Saturday afternoon as a result.”
The “added value” moment came about as a direct result of Kligerman’s role with NBC Sports. Fox Sports carries the NASCAR truck races, and he mentioned the $1 hoodie promotion to producers and the Fox Sports pit reporters prior to the race.
“Just like any other race team does with PR people, that sort of thing,” he said.
“I just planted the seed,” Kligerman added. “And thankfully they, you know, being a pit reporter who gets a lot of things thrown at them, you got to decide what the right time is to use that information or tell that story.
“That was very, very nice of them,” Kligerman said. “You know, I think the Fox team does an incredible job with the truck series. They had a lot of teams like ours that are part-time and gathering all those stories is really hard. They do a great job with that.”
Near the end of the 30-minute lightning hold lightning struck again forcing yet another delay. During the stoppage NASCAR decided to call the race and Kligerman’s fifth place finish was official.
With the $1 hoodie promotion still fresh in fans minds, soon social media was abuzz with fans looking to take advantage. Soon the Fast.co website was seeing thousands of visitors and the company was getting thousands of people buying hoodies for $1; and all trying the Fast Checkout system.
While hoodies were being sold through the site and the social media and web folks at Fast dealing with all the orders, Kligerman had little time to get in on the fun. The NASCAR Xfinity race started at the same track shortly after the truck race, it was being carried by NBC and Kligerman had to get into pit reporter mode.
“I didn’t really get to check my phone at all, “Kligerman said. “I knew it was blowing up constantly…but I, couldn’t check it that often obviously having to do the TV broadcast. So, it wasn’t until later that night that I really got to see, and I was like, ‘oh, wow.’
Thousands of fans are now owners of Fast branded hoodies all brought of $1. For the company, thousands of fans signed up for the company’s Fast Checkout system and used it to purchase those hoodies. And while the company won’t talk about the ROI on the $1 hoodie promotion, they seem very satisfied.
“Parker is an ideal athlete to sponsor in a sport that loves to go Fast,” Kobach said. “It’s difficult to put a price on the value of this sponsorship because the Fast brand now gets the positive halo from both fans of Parker and fans of NASCAR.”
Kligerman hopes the sponsorship will continue.
“It’s been two very successful weekends with them and on the 75 truck,” Kligerman said. “I’ve just built such a great relationship with Domm and the whole company.
“You know, when I was down in Tampa, I met 70 something of the 240 employees there, and everyone was so enthusiastic about what we’re doing about the race program, about what they’re building and, you know, the, just the genuine enthusiasm around the company is awesome. It’s infectious.
“So, I hope I hope they let me continue to be a part of it because it’s been absolutely amazing to be a part of it. Whenever I hang out with Domm or any of them, I feel so inspired afterwards to do big things like they’re doing.”
Regardless of what happens with the sponsorship, one thing is for certain: in the coming weeks crowds of fans will be walking around a NASCAR track wearing Fast branded hoodies. Most of them will no doubt be searching for the part time driver/full time pit reporter who made it all happen and looking for a Parker Kligerman autograph on their new hoodie.
“That’d be great,” Kligerman said chuckling. “Sign me up, man. That’s a great problem to have. And if anyone out there reading this got a hoodie and wants me to sign it by all means, do not hesitate to stop me, tackle me, if I’m running around on the racetrack, I don’t care. I will sign that hoodie for you, and I hope you very much enjoy the hoodie.”