Indy 500 Revs Up for Instagram Promo

Photo taggers, start your engines. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the home of the Indy 500, has partnered with social media management platform Venueseen for an Instagram-based promotion utilizing the hashtag #Indy500orBust.

The hashtag — which is intended to capture the overall experience and history of the race — will also be used in the Indy 500’s other social channels, although an exact launch date for the overall promotion is unclear.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is using Venueseen technology to capture tagged fan images on Instagram. Along with images from drivers, teams and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway itself, these photos will eventually appear plotted on a map on a microsite.

Because the platform enables the Indy 500 to see all photos that are tagged #Indy500orBust, the brand will be able to approve only relevant photos for the map. Users with approved photos will receive an automated response with a message akin to, “Congratulations! You’ve been included in the #Indy500orBust campaign! Head to now to claim your photo and be entered to win a VIP Experience to the 2014 Indianapolis 500! Share your journey!”

Jarrod Krisiloff, the Indy 500’s director of marketing, hopes this notification will spur fans to stay involved.

“The map is a great piece — it allows people to interact with their friends and see where photos are coming in and also for those who aren’t (coming to the race) to see what’s going on,” Krisiloff says. “The tool on the backend is great — it allows us to collect data…and also get (participants) entered into the sweepstakes. We couldn’t have done that if we’d just used a hashtag on Instagram.”

While Krisiloff is unsure when the microsite/map will go live, he says the Indy 500’s big promotional push generally comes in the second week of March and the map/microsite will undoubtedly be live by then. currently features a “Coming Soon!” placeholder.

Krisiloff says the Venueseen platform gives #Indy500orBust a clean feel.

“Anyone can hashtag #Indy500orBust with a picture of a cat, but we want to make sure these images really do tell the story of the Indy 500,” he says. “The approval process gives us the opportunity to have interaction with fans, but it’s very permission-based.”

According to Krisiloff, the Indy 500 is the largest single-day sporting event in the world with over 250,000 participants — 30% of which come from more than 400 miles away. The event also has an element of tradition with long-time ticket holders and a series of events leading up to race day.

“We thought it was a great way to capture it all,” Krisiloff says.

Race festivities begin May 11 and culminate with the race on May 26.

The campaign targets several race audience subsets. First, there’s the 18-to-34-year-old crowd, which focuses on the party atmosphere and a push around local colleges.

“You’ve heard about the infield at the Kentucky Derby? Ours is twice the size,” Krisiloff says.

The campaign also focuses on the family demographic, or men and women 34 to 54. 

And then, of course, there are the core racing fans.

According to Venueseen, promotion includes encouraging drivers to use campaign artwork for their helmets and to tag Instagram photos with #Indy500orBust. There will also be an email campaign to drive users to the microsite and a series Venueseen calls, “#Indy500orBust Moments,” or videos that will highlight drivers’ journeys to the 500 and their “or bust” moments. 

The Indy 500 is Venueseen’s first partner since opening its API.

According to Venueseen, its API enables brands to use Instagram photos as a marketing channel and to: activate brand loyalists and amplify their visual storytelling beyond Instagram; produce higher sales and new email subscribers; incorporate users’ Instagram photos into broader marketing channels; and analyze campaigns to see how they’re performing. 

In addition, brands can pull geo-tagged and hashtagged photos from Instagram and Foursquare through Venueseen’s monitoring platform and create, implement and manage Instagram campaigns with its Instagram campaigns tool. The campaigns tool also lets brands collect contact information and auto-post comments to photos.

Venueseen has also worked with Macaroni Grill and Office Depot.

Founded in 2012, the company has six employees.

Related reading