Thursday, April 28, 2005

Wacky Races

I was never a NASCAR fan, only for the fact that there was nothing appealing for me to watch, except for the crash. But now, Nascar is doing it's best to appeal to everyone, quickly on it's way to become America's favorite sport. And, an advertiser's dream.

Now, watching the updates on the races as a kid on the news, you would see these old, beat up Dodge's and Chevy's run on dirt tracks, while guys like Cale and Buddy traded paint. Now, The stands were filled with rednecks, and barely a woman would be found. These days, there's racers with the softer names of Jeff and Brian, driving in souped up cars making sure they don't damage the logo Target just bought and slapped on. The stands are filled with blue collar, yuppies, down home and home boys. Women love Nascar, as the drivers are much more cuter and the cars have more color. But, I still don't watch it. Sorry, Junior. I know you want more diversity of fans now, but it's only fair, since I haven't watched the NBA since Jordan left the first time.

Advertising and promotion has now become the big thing for Nascar now. Originally sponsored by just products like Winston cigarretes and BC powder (possibly the most powerful medicine /cure-all ever made, even though folks above the Mason/Dixon never heard of it), now cars and drivers are pimped out with the names Home Depot, Cheerios, Ditech, Pfizer...I don't know who drives that car, but do you want to be the one that steps out of the Viagra car, really? You feel as bad for that guy like the woman in the ad who says, " I don't let herpes get me down". You know it's just a gig, and pray they don't have it, but in the back of your head, you kinda wonder...

Warner Brothers and Nascar are teaming up for a new venture on June 19th. The Batman Begins 400, just days after the film hits the streets. It's the first time a film has been used t0 promote a sporting event and vice versa. According to the press report,"We're looking forward to pairing the on-screen excitement of Batman Begins to the on-track excitement of NASCAR," said Dan Romanelli, President, Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products. "A fast car, the Batmobile(TM), and a host of high-tech gadgets have always been key to Batman's success in fighting his way to victory over crime. As NASCAR's finest drivers take to the track on June 19 for the Batman Begins 400 at Michigan International Speedway, they will utilize all of the high-tech gadgets at their disposal to take their team to victory lane." If they ain't doing things like dropping tacks from the rear bumper, or using a heat ray to burn the tires of the other guy, then this ain't nothing like the Batmoblie. Besides, I don't think Dale Earnhart, Jr. has atomic power under the hood.

This is just dumb all the way around. Folks are gonna see the movie and folks are gonna see the race as both are hot tickets, either way. Maybe a smaller film could use this kind of promotion. Say the "A Lot Like Love 500"? "The Interpreter 400"? "The Deep Thoat 250??"

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