Pippa Goes Pink
Although it had been long suspected, I was thrilled to see our friend Pippa Mann get confirmed for this year’s Indianapolis 500. When I say “our friend Pippa Mann”; I’m not name-dropping or acting like we hang out with her all the time. By calling her “our friend”, I mean she is a friend to all of IndyCar. Most drivers promote their sponsors, but Pippa promotes the series.
In the past, Pippa had the names of a sponsors on her sidepods that I was unfamiliar with. She did a great job promoting those sponsors, but I always wondered why household names were not associating themselves with her. She is bright, funny, articulate and that British accent has just the right touch. It doesn’t make her come off as snobbish or aloof – just curiously sophisticated. To me, she seemed to be a marketers dream. Plus, she’s not too shabby behind the wheel.
Yesterday, it was announced that Pippa will be driving for Dale Coyne Racing again in the No.63 Dallara-Honda. But instead of having the name of an obscure sponsor on the car – this is a partnership with Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization. Pippa is very quick to point out that this isn’t a sponsorship, this is a partnership. Pippa will use the Indianapolis 500 as a platform to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research.
It’s funny how things get started. In the announcement yesterday, Pippa discussed how this took flight simply by having her normally red and yellow helmet painted pink to support the cause. According to Pippa, it blossomed very quickly from there. This May, her helmet, firesuit, crew and car will all be adorned in pink.
This is something that fans can take a part in. Not only will Pippa be putting all of her efforts into promoting breast cancer awareness – that is, when she’s not in the car – but she’ll be on a quest to raise money – a lot of money. We fans always talk about helping the sponsors that help IndyCar. Even though this is a partnership and not a sponsorship, this is where fans can put their money where their mouth is. There has been a special website set up; www.racewithpippa.com where fans can pledge directly to Susan G. Komen for breast cancer research, education and outreach programs. Fans can set a specific dollar amount to be donated for each lap that Pippa Mann completes in this year’s Indianapolis 500.
I don’t fully understand all of the inner-workings that it takes to pull something like this off. I’m not quite sure where the money comes from to put the car on the track to compete, despite it being a vehicle to raise money. But you know what? I don’t need to. There are much smarter people than me who come up with these arrangements. All I know is that this is a very worthy cause that fans can contribute to, and one of my favorite drivers is back in the Indianapolis 500. It’s sort of like running water in the kitchen. I don’t fully understand how it gets there and where it goes, but so long as it’s there when I need it – I really don’t care.
This has the potential to be a win-win for everyone. Susan G. Komen gets a likeable face to promote awareness and raise money for their organization. Pippa Mann gets to drive in this year’s Indianapolis 500, while at the same time being involved with a cause she deeply believes in. Fans get to contribute to a good cause while showing support for a crowd favorite. If this is successful, I can see other charitable organizations getting involved in the future.
And to be selfish – this could certainly help ratings for the ABC race broadcast on Sunday May 25. There is certainly a much larger segment and different demographic likely to watch now that such a large and visible organization such as Susan G. Komen is involved. For those that may have questioned the credibility of the Indianapolis 500, their presence certainly helps in that area.
I’ve already made a small donation. I hope others will be inclined to do likewise. I don’t normally like to be put on the spot. That’s one good thing about the anonymity of the internet. If you choose not to donate, no one knows – but you. I’m not proud to admit it, but I’ve never donated to Susan G. Komen before. I’ve always known it was a good cause, but I always sat on my wallet. But after learning that such a good friend of IndyCar is involved, it pushed me over the top. If you’re like me and never had a personal reason to give until now, maybe you’ll consider giving knowing it not only helps Susan G. Komen directly, it also helps Pippa Mann and IndyCar, indirectly.
For those that use Twitter, you may follow Pippa (@PippaMann) and Susan G. Komen (@SusanGKomen). The hashtag for this partnership is #PippaGoesPink.
So, a big thanks goes to Dale Coyne Racing and whoever devised the way to make this financially feasible. Congratulations go out to Pippa Mann for getting to run in her third Indianapolis 500. And a big congratulations also goes to Susan G. Komen. They have gotten a magnificent spokesperson that will work tirelessly to represent them well, both on and off the track. I hope this is a huge success for all involved.