Ours is a culture obsessed with social media. That’s nothing new, but it’s exactly why the 2013 “Indy 500 or Bust” campaign was gold. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s ambitious digital media crew wanted to go big this year. The plan was simple: Ask race fans to upload photos on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #Indy500orBust. “We wanted our biggest advocates, our fans, to share their experiences, their journeys, and their ‘or bust’ moments with their friends in hopes that they, too, would participate,” says Brian Simpson, digital media producer for the IMS.
Thus a web- and app-based photo album of nearly everything imaginable was born, including images of glittery nails, inebriated couples smooching (Snake Pit, ahoy!), and one Mike Tyson holding an “Indy 500 or Bust” sign. The catchy slogan was even seen speeding around the track on race day courtesy of IndyCar driver and Indy 500 competitor Josef Newgarden’s helmet. (He became the campaign’s unofficial spokesman.)
The total of 11,400 photo submissions (as of press time) was expected and nothing to tweet home about—but 240 million impressions on Twitter and reaching more than 53 million Instagrammers wasn’t to be scoffed at either. Thanks to its viral nature, Instagram’s blog featured the campaign on Saturday, May 25, the day before the race. Says Simpson, “To be acknowledged by the platform that we built the campaign around was incredible.”
However, this noble assistance from race fans doesn’t excuse their own naughty ways. When asked about potentially shocking photo submissions received, Simpson says, “The most probably came on Coors Light Carb Day. It’s tough to say is there was just one that really shocked me, but there were several that we deemed inappropriate for the campaign.”
Stay classy, Indy.