Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Monday, November 7, 2011

Marketing, Poor Taste & Other Stuff

Who’s the Marketable Chump Going to Be?
Looking at the current points standings and who’s actually got a shot at being this year’s chumpion, who is the most marketable? Cousin/Crazy Carl with his big toothy grin, his “aw shucks” demeanor, and his time with the BSPN Booth Buffoons definitely makes him marketable. His Roush teammate, Matt Kenseth on the other hand isn’t that marketable as Faux King Brian and his band of mental midgets found out when Matt won the last real Cup championship. Bad Brad is an articulate kid with an expensive smile but he doesn’t have the name recognition that Cousin/Crazy Carl does outside of his supposedly continuing bad blood with Cousin/Crazy Carl. That’s a key point in marketing. Name recognition. Tony Stewart’s got name recognition but between the changes in his expanding and contracting girth, some whining the last couple of seasons, and not being marketed the way he was when he was at JGR, he might be a little more difficult to market. Mr Happy isn’t so happy this season despite KHI performing well. The commercials he was in for his previous sponsor showed he can do commercials but was it enough to get more folks to buy their product? Not that I can find. He does have some name recognition but not enough to really make him a highly marketable chump. Neither Busch brother is that marketable. Despite both being in commercials, their on-track antics and comments don’t exactly endear them to many folks outside of their fan base. Some race fans have written their sponsors to let them know they will no longer use/buy their products because of their attitude, antics, and comments. And after the elder Busch became the first chump in the Chase for the Chumps, Faux King Brian and company found out that the elder Busch wasn’t very marketable at all. Normally NA$CAR cranks out a lot of PR, pounds their chest, and does more than the usual late night show appearances. With the elder Busch, it was like he didn’t exist. Folks are tired of Jimmie Johnson. And his chances of being a 6 time chump have all but evaporated. And as Faux King Brian has found out, JJ has become less and less marketable after each chumpionship he’s won even though he’s got name recognition. It’s like the Head-On commercial. Folks get tired of the repetition. Plus it doesn’t help to have the likes of the Focks Sports and BSPN Booth Buffoons yammering on and on time and again about “ole 5 time”. That’s probably been a big detriment to him despite being on the cover of Sports Illustrated. As the rest of the drivers in the points standing don’t have a snowballs chance of winning, I’m not going to address them.
I’m not slamming these guys. Just pointing out their marketability. So it comes down to Cousin/Crazy Carl being the most marketable of the bunch should he be this years chumpion. I know some folks won’t be happy about that. And should his Roush teammate be this years chump, the folks in NA$CAR’s marketing conglomerate will be sweating bullets and having nightmares on how they can market him. For me, from a marketing standpoint, the perfect 2011 chump would be Matt simply because of the headaches it’s going to cause the Ivory Tower gang.
Poor Taste Department 
DuPont has been running some commercials on radio recently with two supposedly fictional characters named “Fireball” and “Hardhead”. In the background, you can hear Indy cars running. The first time these ads were heard, from what I can find out, was the day after Dan Wheldon’s fiery crash and death. Not to mention Fireball Roberts, who’s death was caused by a fiery crash at Charlotte Motor Speedway back in 1964, and Iron Head, aka Dale Sr, whose death I don’t need to go into.
You’ve Got to Wonder 
IndyCar, F-1, and the FIA world sanctioning body are all looking at what could’ve cause Dan Wheldon’s death and what can be done to prevent something like that happening again. And yet outside of some Cup drivers making some donations to the Wheldon fundraising auction and some comments about his loss, we see absolutely nothing out of NA$CAR saying there are things that could be learned or offering up any sort of assistance in analyzing the wreck data or helping to improve the design of the DW 12 car which is currently undergoing testing. While the rest of the world’s racing community has come together to prevent something like Wheldon’s wreck from happening again, NA$CAR remains aloof.
Point To Ponder 
By now most folks are aware that OOPS, currently on David Regan’s car, is going to be an “official sponsor” of NA$CAR and an associate sponsor on Cousin/Crazy Carl’s car. What happens when somebody becomes an “official sponsor/product/service provider” of NA$CAR, like with Badyear, Splint, or Sumoco? It means there’s usually an “exclusivity deal” that goes along with it. And what happens when there’s an exclusivity deal? It means that businesses in that same field cannot sponsor a car unless they’re “grandfathered”, the way AT&T & Alltel were in the past. So, if OOPS is the official delivery provider of NA$CAR, that means that Fed-Up isn’t, which means that Fed-Up will be grandfathered until their contract with JGR runs out, which means once their contract runs out there will be one less team sponsor which in turn will mean one less team if what’s happening to Roush and what happened to Robby Gordon with Motorola is an indication.
From Deep in the Heart of Texas 
This is from my old racing buddy Dave from down in the Dallas area:
TMS is touting a "4 Pack" for this week's race. For one price you get all 4 events. What's that you say? There's only 3 races? As far as they are concerned, Thursday's practice and Truck Qualifying is an official "event". Ignore the fact that there are coupons in the paper for free admission to Thursday's "event". Anyway, the "4 Pack" is $121.00. This gets you a row 1 - 10 seat for the events. Oh. You don't want to sit behind the concrete wall and see nothing? Then the "4 Pack" is $176.00 for rows 11 - 20. They have plenty of them, they said. (No kidding.) And one more thing. This package is considered a "mini season ticket" (that's what they said on the phone - with a straight face too), so........there is a $15 fee added. The fee is added whether you buy the ticket on the phone or at the box office. Nice, eh?
Oh, and one more thing. All the ticket prices were raised this week. The cheap seats went up $5.00 (for the Truck and Nationwide races) and more (they wouldn't say how much for the Cup tickets) for the rest. Hey, if you can't sell them at regular price - raise it the week of the event, right? There are $10 off coupons for the Truck race, which are buried in the Metro section of the Sunday Dallas Morning News with no heading, no nothing. Just two coupons on the bottom of the page. The speedway couldn't tell me if there were coupons as no one there had actually seen one, and no one knew anything about them.
And they wonder why the place isn't full??????
Tell me again why the media keeps telling me Eddie Gossage is a marketing genius?
Real Stock Car Racing Coming to Sears Point 
In 2012, the FIA World Touring Championship will be racing at Sears Point. The series involves real cars with real bodies and real fenders and bodies that are easily identifiable to a specific make. They’ll be running 2 thirty minute races which means you’ll be seeing short track action on a road course. Bumping, banging, and fenders rubbing. Whether or not it’ll be shown here is a different matter. It’s going to be carried on Eurovision. I know in the past Speed TV has carried some Eurovision broadcasts related to racing so maybe we’ll get lucky and be able to see some stock looking cars racing each other just like the Aussie V-8 Series. What a concept. Stock cars racing each other. Oh wait. Isn’t that what the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is supposed to be? Stock car racing?
Don’t Be Fooled 
Despite all the “happy happy joy joy” things being written about the ratings being up, they’re still down by 5+ million viewers since 2008. Step back from the Kool Aid boys & girls and quit using the “1984” Doublespeak Dictionary to make things look better than they truly are.
Around the Web 
After the Martinsville race, I went to a number of web sites and read comments regarding the race at Martinsville. Overall fan feel for the race was, “Why aren’t there more races like Martinsville?”. They enjoyed the beating and banging that went on. Well, it comes down to a very simple reason. Faux King Brian has all but eliminated the short tracks and the unique designed tracks which gave us a lot of exciting racing in favor of his much ballyhooed and beloved 1.5 mile cookie cutter tracks. Darlington got cut back to one race. Rockingham was dropped off the schedule altogether. The formerly much beloved Bristol was turned into a shadow of it’s former self when it was reconfigured because the drivers, not racers, complained that they couldn’t race there because they had to beat and bang on each other to actually get ahead a position. In other words do some bare knuckle racing.
But not all the blame should be levied against Faux King Brian. A lot of the blame can also be placed on his dad and his grandfather when Winston and the networks showed up. Tracks like Columbia, Occoneechee, Hickory, Nashville Fairgrounds, and Bowman-Gray were dropped from the schedule. Short tracks with a lot of action. But because they were either dirt or didn’t have the amenities that Winston and the networks wanted, they got dropped.
Where Are Your Tax Dollars Going? 
If this isn’t enough to make you want to call or write your congressmen I don’t know what will:


  1. Mike,

    I would agree with you where OOPS is concerned, if they were becoming the "Official Series" aka title sponsor. Ie Nationwide pushing Geico out of the former Busch series, or Sprint vs AT&T and Alltel in cup. As you recall, the grandfather clauses prevented the competing sponsors from moving to another team and in AT&T's case, put a time limit on their sponsorship.

    With OOPS however, we're just talking about the official delivery company. NASCAR has a zillion little official sponsors of a myriad of subcategories, including an official cookies and crackers sponsor of all things.

    For example Coke is the official non-alcoholic, soft drink, energy and sports drink of NASCAR, and yet that hasn't slowed Pepsi much.

    When it comes to official sponsors in these lower tiers, it isn't so much exclusivity, as it is seeking to limit or restrict their competitors maximum brand exposure. Ie, Sunoco getting their knickers in a twist because the Shell Penzoil logo on Harvick's Daytona 500 winning car was too big for their tastes, or the big blue powerade debacle in victory lane several years prior.

    If you are a corporation and you want a TRUE monopoly and exclusivity, you have to pony up still more cash. The old Winston Churchill line "Madam, we've already established what kind of woman you are, now we're just negotiating the price" very much applies to Brian France.

  2. Nice article, Mike. Personally I am not rooting for any Ford driver to take the 10 race trophy - not after the politics that went into play at Dega. Yeah, I know that the plate races always wind up with people getting hung out to dry, but at the end of the race, the drivers should be able to work with each other to get the best finish they can. Did I believe the comments from Ford and Roush about this? Not a single word.

    We were at Martinsville - by far the best race I saw all season. There was racing from beginning to end - it was fun - especially after the snoozers from the other tracks in the chase.

    Between the tracks that produce lousy racing and the TV coverage which doesn't actually cover the race, but focuses on individual cars/drivers, is it any wonder that the ratings are down.

    funny thing, wasn't the COT supposed to take the aero problem out of the racing equation? Gee that worked sooo well.

    Unless it is raining the next 2 Sundays or at least until it gets dark, I don't have a lot of reason to waste my day inside watching the races. Is the season over yet?

  3. I didn't enjoy Martinsville. Too slow a pace with all the wrecks and all the caution laps. There was almost no time for racing.

    Watching a race with no continuity is no fun.

    How many fans watch racing and don't care about the manufacturer, " favorite driver" or sponsor. These things mean little to me ( although I don't like most the top 10 favorite drivers). How many fans really don't care about this kind of sillyness?

    John McManus