Humbert, a supervisor of external relations for Procter & Gamble, is responsible for the media communication strategies for fabric and home-care products such as Tide, Gain and Swiffer. The 1993 graduate also manages media relations on new products such as Febreze fabric freshener and Dryel at-home dry cleaning kit. It’s all fun and challenging, she says—a promotional idea for Swiffer included a 14-city tour—but getting to work with Tide Racing and NASCAR racing, which is at the height of its popularity, is the most glamorous part of her job.
P&G has sponsored the No. 32 Ford Taurus in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series—the major leagues of stock car racing—for several years. In fact, three-time champion Darrell Waltrip won nine races in the Tide car in the late 1980s, including the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s most prestigious race; Bristol, the circuit’s toughest track; and the longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C.
In return for its investment, a company that sponsors a car receives immeasurable advertising publicity from the millions of spectators and television viewers each week. Race cars painted with the sponsor’s logo drive as long as three or four hours during each week’s race. Drivers travel the country between races, representing their sponsors.
Though the Tide car hit tough times lately, changing drivers three times in as many years, 2001 was a comeback season. Ricky Craven won his first Winston Cup race in October to put the bright orange Tide car back in the Winner’s Circle. Tide Racing has its own public relations person to handle Craven’s appearances, but winning makes Humbert’s job easier.
“Meeting Ricky Craven and his family added a whole new dimension to the sport for me,” says Humbert, who knew virtually nothing about racing before this job. “I’ve gotten a close, behind-the-scenes look at the sport.”
One of Humbert’s favorite projects, in fact, showed her the kinder side of what some view as a dangerous sport. Tide partnered with NASCAR to raise money for a charity called Give Kids the World, which sends severely ill children to a village near Orlando, Fla., for a much-needed vacation. Children competed to design a special paint scheme for the Tide car to race in Charlotte, N.C. For each lap Craven completed, Tide donated money to Give Kids the World.
The winning paint scheme was designed by a young boy with no arms. He used his mouth in a technique called blow art to paint the model car. Craven finished the race and raised $300,000. Proceeds from sales of a die-cast replica of the car also went to charity.
“That’s what I love most about my job,” says Humbert. “It’s challenging and fun, but I also get to work with good people who want to do good for other people.”