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Verrien | As a sponsor of the Detroit Grand Prix, Shinola is returning.

The main focus of event sponsorship is money. It’s also about time in this one.

Shinola, a new and lesser-known Detroit brand, is betting that its role as the Detroit Grand Prix’s “official timekeeper” will boost its reputation nationally and internationally and give it a stronger marketing foothold in an industry that luxury watch buyers love.

Shinola spokesperson John Stoll told the Free Press, “We saw an opportunity to get back involved,” noting that the business has been picky about its marketing partnerships. Racing has always been associated with accuracy, quality, and performance, which confirms what we already know about Shinola watches.

Additionally, Shinola’s sponsorship continued after the race, which began in downtown Detroit and ended there.

The watch brand, which began sponsoring the Detroit Grand Prix in 2011, paused in the middle of the 2010s and just negotiated a new, three-year agreement that should keep it going through 2025 when the city’s lease to stage the event downtown also expires.

It chose not to say how much it spent on the transaction.

Nevertheless, in an ironic turn of events, Shinola also has ties to Chevrolet, the race’s principal title sponsor.

The car manufacturer has links to motorsports and is older—by nearly 100 years. However, it also has its headquarters in Detroit, which is home to the tallest skyscraper in the city with the same name. Louis-Joseph and Arthur Chevrolet, race car drivers and the sons of a Swiss watchmaker, founded the automaker.

Naturally, the goal of both businesses is to make sales.

The company Chevy has a goal to “find new roads” with vehicle electrification, but its sponsorship of an annual high-profile Detroit event connects it to its “heartbeat of America” history as a marketer of automobiles with powerful internal combustion engines.
The victor of Sunday’s 2023 Detroit Grand Prix will get the limited edition Canfield Speedway Automatic Chronograph.

Shinola gets to identify its watches, or rather, timepieces, with a high-speed, high-life existence. Shinola got its name from a defunct blue-collar shoe polish firm recognized for the colloquial word for a dimwit, not a trendy luxury.

On the Grand Prix website, Shinola has been maintaining a countdown clock for days. There is Shinola branding all over the city, and the business intends to give the winner and the next two runners-up timepieces, one of its original watch models, and the limited-edition wristwatch No. 313 out of 500, which costs around $3,000.

Another advantage for the sponsor exists in this situation. Shinola may also take pride in helping its employees, unlike, for instance, Swiss luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer, which is the official watch, timepiece, chronograph, and smartwatch of the Indianapolis 500.
The victor of Sunday’s 2023 Detroit Grand Prix will get the limited edition Canfield Speedway Automatic Chronograph.

The business uses Swiss-made components in their timepieces, which are put together in Detroit.

In many ways, sponsorships assist businesses in reaching their target audiences, according to Marx Layne’s president Michael Layne, a marketing, public relations, and digital media firm based in Farmington Hills. He claimed that Shinola’s sponsorship made sense because the company has ties to Detroit.

A watch, he said, is about technology, art, and style much like an automobile.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to showcase the Shinola brand in a way that fits with their DNA,” Layne continued. When you associate your identity with an occasion, you are really associating your name with the consumer you are aiming to appeal to.

Shinola was “born right here in Detroit,” according to Grand Prix President Michael Montri, who also noted that the company’s “commitment to performance while producing high-quality American products here in the Motor City” was in line with the Detroit Grand Prix’s goal.

The business circulated an email with a promotional message the day before the race: “Start your engines.”

Unspoken message: buy our goods if you want to experience driving a racing vehicle in the Detroit Grand Prix.

Verrien | As a sponsor of the Detroit Grand Prix, Shinola is returning.

By Rose Spencer

Rose is an experienced writer and a watch seller, making use of pop-up shops space. She got into watches thanks to her granddad, who introduced her to the wonderful world of watches. Two of them still collect watches together, and Rose is always on the lookout for rare watches (and colorful) varieties.

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