Jacqueline Johnson is the director of marketing at Ferrari of Atlanta. Rides to Remember charity event gives pediatric cancer patients in Atlanta, Georgia a chance to forget some of their day-to-day struggles as they get the opportunity to take a ride in exotic cars at Atlanta Motorsports Park.
Ferrari of Atlanta chose to start Rides to Remember more than a decade ago to honor a family member who was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. The dealership partners with their Ferrari clients as well as outside sports car owners and enthusiasts in an effort to raise funds for 3 beloved charities: Atlanta Ronald McDonald House, Camp Sunshine, and Cure Childhood Cancer.
Connect with Jacqueline on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- Rides To Remember
- The Pony
- New at Ferrari of Atlanta
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:03] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio, brought to you by on pay. Built in Atlanta, on pay is the top rated payroll and HR software anywhere. Get one month free at on pay. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:31] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Atlanta Business Radio. And this is going to be a good one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor on pay. Without them, we couldn’t be sharing these important stories. Today on Atlanta Business Radio, we have Jacqueline Johnson with Ferrari of Atlanta. Welcome.
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:00:50] Hi. Thank you so much for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:51] Well, I’m excited to learn what you’re up to first. Tell us a little bit about Ferrari of Atlanta.
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:00:59] Sure. So Ferrari of Atlanta is the only official Ferrari dealership in Georgia. It’s locally owned. We’ve been here for a little bit more than 30 years now, and we are located in Alpharetta. And yeah, I’ve been with the company for for almost going on five years now. And so it’s a great company to work for a great atmosphere and we just love what we do so.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:27] Well. I’m curious, as a marketer, I’m curious on how how do you market and you’re the director of marketing, how do you market Ferrari? Isn’t it something like anybody who would want a Ferrari kind of knows about Ferrari? Like how do you kind of stay top of mind?
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:01:44] Sure. A lot of people that is, you know, it’s a very popular brand in the world, world renowned brand. But, you know, we do other things. So we’re very local and we’re very involved in our community. So we throw events with the Ferrari Club of America for our clients. We do unveilings of new models, new model launches, things like that. And of course, digital presence is important. So we just want to immerse ourselves in the community as much as possible.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:16] And then when you immerse yourself in the community, is it something that like the community is a small group, right? The people that can afford Ferrari isn’t that like you’re not the community, is it? Every single person in Atlanta? I’m sure you want everybody to love Ferrari, but the typical Ferrari buyer, I would think is it is a short list.
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:02:38] It it is. But you know, we do. So we have an event actually. It’s coming up. It’s called Italian Car Day. And this is just an example. You know, Fiat, Fiat come and participate. Any type of, you know, Italian make. They come and they eat and they get to see our store and we chit chat about things and there’s prizes. So that’s just one example. We’re very inclusive of everyone. I do know that there’s a very short list of clientele that that can’t buy Ferraris, but do we do other things?
Lee Kantor: [00:03:18] So now one of the other things you do is rides to remember. Can you talk about that?
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:03:22] Yeah, absolutely. So it is a charity event that was created back in 2016 and we’re now on our 16th year. And the charity’s core mission is to give pediatric cancer patients a chance to forget some of their day to day struggles. And so we do that by giving them and their families the opportunity to jump in exotic cars and the exotic car at Atlanta Motorsports Park, which is an amazing private track that’s located in Dawsonville, Georgia. And our fundraising goal this year is to raise a total of 200,000. And a portion of those proceeds will be divided amongst three local charities we have supported since day one, which are all amazing their cure, childhood cancer, Atlanta, Ronald McDonald, House Charities, and then Camp Sunshine.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:15] So what was the genesis of the idea? How did this come about?
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:04:20] So back in 2016, we wanted to honor a family member who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. So we decided to partner with our our clients and other exotic sports car owners and then let in the Atlanta community to raise funds for these charities that I mentioned. And we are also now giving children and families of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to participate as well, and we’re very excited about that. So that’s how rights for a member was born.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:53] And then at the event, what occurs.
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:04:57] So what happens is they well, the drivers and the sponsors arrive at the dealership, Ferrari of Atlanta. We have breakfast and then we all take a police escort to Atlanta Motorsports track that morning. And when we get there, the children and their families are already there, they’re already pumped, they’re excited. And it’s just amazing to see all of these. Actually, this year we have about 100. Cars that are participating. So it’s just amazing to see the motorcade and the cars pull around to the track. And when we get there, I mean, it’s it’s go time, you know, the cars the children pick, what car they want to get in, they take a ride around the track, they come back, then they pick another one and another one. And it’s just really fun for everyone.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:52] So they get to not only do they get to experience what that feels like, they get to go into several different cars. It’s so it’s like a whole day event or several hours.
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:06:03] So it’s so it’s from 9:00 AM until 1 p.m..
Lee Kantor: [00:06:08] And then how if somebody wants to get involved in this, how can they get involved? Like if they have an exotic sports car or if they, you know, want to volunteer or is there a ways for people to get involved?
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:06:19] Sure. Absolutely. So we have a website. It’s rights to remember dot org. There was there’s a registration page there for volunteers. There’s another page where kids and families who are involved with the three charities can sign up to participate. And then we have a place where drivers themselves can register to drive. There’s also a donation page there that anyone can contribute to, no matter if you’re participating or not. There’s no minimum. All donation amounts are welcome and very much appreciated.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:51] Now you mentioned you use the word community. I’m sure that wasn’t an accident. The folks that buy Ferraris or they’re part of a community. Right. That’s part of what you get when you’re kind of in the family there.
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:07:06] Absolutely. Yeah. We do a lot of events. We’re not just a brand, we’re a lifestyle. So when you buy a Ferrari from us, you’re not only buying a product, you’re you’re kind of in our family. So it’s a very experiential brand.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:21] And then so that if you have a Ferrari, you can participate in this event, right?
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:07:27] Oh, absolutely, yeah. You don’t even have to buy the Ferrari from us.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:31] But you can be part of this and be there with, you know, like you said, 100 other cars going around the track and helping these young people create memories that’ll be there for their lifetime.
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:07:45] Absolutely.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:46] So what do you need more of? How can we help you?
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:07:50] Well, you know, we we would love more volunteers. They’re they’re pivotal. And every single year, they do so much for us. And we appreciate all that they do. You know, we need to raise a little bit more this year to reach our goal of 200,000. So but we are looking for sponsors still. We do need sponsors. So if you own, you know, a local business here and you think that this might be a good fit for you, just reach out to us. You can reach out to me myself or go on the website and fill out a form and we will reach out to you. Yeah, but help is help is always needed and greatly appreciated.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:35] So now what is the phrase the pony mean? Like what is Ride Shotgun with the Pony mean?
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:08:44] Sure. So this year it’s actually it is a new thing that we’re trying for the first time. It’s kind of a play on a mysterious driver from a popular British television show. I’m sure a lot of people listening are familiar with it, and we just thought it would be very fun addition to have to boost our fundraising initiatives. So the person who raises the most funds for the event, whether it be them or a friend of their sponsors them to do this, which is all can be all done in line. They get to ride shotgun with the renowned race car driver at the end of the event on the track. And let me tell you, it’s going to be worth it because the track at AMP is well known for its aggressive elevation changes and its technical layout. So it’s really a fun track to drive on. And when you have a professional racecar driver in the car with you, it’s going to be very memorable for the lucky winner. And the twist is actually the identity of the pony won’t be revealed into the day of the event, so you won’t find out who it is until you get there.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:58] So so that gets everybody kind of motivated and fired up to keep donating.
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:10:05] Absolutely.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:06] And then, like you said, the sponsors can be any business. They don’t have to be car related. It could be any local business that just wants to participate in this event.
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:10:15] Any local business that wants to participate and our sponsorship deck and all that information and the different tier levels and all that can also be found on our website as well.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:25] And then at the website, that’s where like if you have a. Ferrari or an exotic car. You can kind of register your car there, or if you want to volunteer, you can register there. Or if you’re a parent of a child, you can register there as well.
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:10:40] Yes, yes. It’s it’s it’s it’s it’s a very easy website to navigate. And and there’s all all three you can do, whether you’re a volunteer driver or sponsor, you can do everything right through there.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:54] And that’s rides to remember dot org.
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:10:58] Yes.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:00] Well, thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing such important work and we appreciate you.
Jacqueline Johnson: [00:11:06] Well, thank you so much for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:08] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you all next time on Atlanta Business Radio.
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