March 07, 2014

The Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is always a big race for my team. As senior manager of event services, I’ve been responsible for managing the Kobalt relationship at JHE for the past 2 ½ years.

The sponsorship entitlement race is an opportunity for the company to show off “the next generation of tough tools” in an interactive way. This year will be no different as the brand activates in a substantial way around the track.

Similar to last year, the 100-by-80-foot midway display will highlight the power and mechanical tools. The JHE team enhanced the Kobalt display with a fresh, new look. However, this year includes a cool new addition: the outdoor power equipment (OPE) line. The newest launch from Kobalt includes seven tools – string trimmer, hedge trimmer, two mowers, blower, chainsaw and polesaw – that can take on anything you need to do in the yard and all work from one, rechargeable, interchangeable battery platform. New demonstrations and games throughout the footprint also will create more fan interaction for the brand.

To prepare for the race, the JHE team began talking with the Kobalt brand team right after its appearance at SEMA in December. In January, the planning revved back up and became more focused. The biggest challenge my team faces during the planning period is making sure the overall idea aligns with Kobalt’s brand goals. This year, JHE was charged with creating an interactive area that keeps customers engaged while educating them on the product line benefits. Along with the marketing goals, our team comes up with creative ways to highlight key products. For example, this year we built half a race car with a tire changing station to showcase the cordless impact wrench and air tools.

Once the planning hurdles had been crossed, our focus shifted to making the idea come to life by building the display, ordering signage and fabricating new additions.

Managing the Kobalt partnership continues to be a rewarding experience and nothing beats the feeling you get when months of preparation come together to produce positive results. Two trucks will rolled out of JHE headquarters March 1. Hope to see you at the Kobalt display March 7-9, 2014, in Las Vegas!

– Ray Edick

Ray Edick, Kobalt 400, Kobalt Tools, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, SEMA, Kobalt