No, I don’t mean the drivers. I’m sure it’s not a walk in the park to do what they do, but lets face it, it’s pretty shitty racing. How do I know? Well I know for sure now because I watched the entire Daytona 500 last Sunday. :collective gasp: Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I’m a elitist motoring snob, and people like us despise and hate NASCAR. But truth be told, I hadn’t watched an entire race, start to finish. Ever.
But that all changed when we got HDTV hooked up last week. With only 12 HD channels in the lineup, I find myself watching all kinds of programming I would typically never touch with a ten foot pole. Shana first busted my balls on this subject when she caught me watching 20 minutes of HD Olympic… ice skating. I know, I know, that’s really sad. But the picture was incredible I’m telling you!
Considering I missed the best live HD programming offered in this country a few weeks earlier, Super Bowl XL, I had to tune in for what was likely the second best live HD programming, the Daytona 500. Besides, it couldn’t be any worse than ice skating, could it?
The feed was actually of lesser quality than I was expecting, but still pretty impressive. Broadcast in 1080i, it was subject to pixelation in panning shots with heavy detail. But still plenty clear to see that Bon Jovi is plenty old during the opening music act for the show.
So how was the race? Well I was right, it was 15-30 minute boring-ass segments strung together with the occasional 10 second spectacular wreck. I’ll bet the same format is followed for WWE programming, but I’m not going to watch to find out… at least not until it’s in HD 😀
But the really disturbing part of the whole show was the sheer brilliance of the NASCAR marketing department. The title of this blog entry, These Guys are Good, is dedicated to them. The 500 was a very impressive marketing blitz that hit you from every angle, including those I didn’t even realize until I tuned in.
As I tried to pretend to know even less than I care to about this shitty racing series, I realized half of the driver’s names in the field were very familiar. Jeff Gordon, oh yeah, he sells Pepsi. And the number 8 car, yeah, that’s the Budweiser car driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. He sells the ‘new’ Wrangler jeans too I think…
As I started to realize the TV had already pre-programmed my brain for NASCAR advertisers, I started to note all the brands that we happen to use or purchase:
- Alcohol Sponsors – The number 07 car (not to be confused with the 7 car) is sponsored by Jack Daniels. Heaven knows I know his products and the sponsorship that sprawls across the hood simply says ‘Jack’ in the same script as the bottle. And the number 26 Jamie McMurray car, damn, another whiskey sponsor, Crown Royal. They’ve got my number for sure… And the number 40 car, DOH!, Coors Light – I was practically raised on the stuff!
- Service Industry – FedEx and UPS, use them both all the time.
- Retail – Home Depot, well they own me for sure. And there’s supposed to be a Lowe’s going into Corvallis any time now. Best Buy, the adults Toys R Us, yeah I’ve been there a few times… And Office Depot is just down the street!
- Cellular Phones – How did Cingular and Nextel/Sprint know we were shopping for a new phone company?
- Auto Manufacturers – Well sorry you guys, you loose. I don’t think there’s a Chevy, Ford, or Dodge in my future. Although Toyota is going to field an entry next year, and we own one of their trucks – damn!
Truth be told , I think I do business, or will do business, in one way or another with nearly 80% of the NASCAR sponsors. But which one was responsible for getting me to watch something I swore I never would? DLP HDTV/ Texas Instruments. They’re a huge sponsor and their ads ran every commercial sequence. Not that I own a DLP, but it got me to tune in and check out the HD coverage.
So there I sat for 3+ hours watching the Daytona 500 and getting totally disgusted at the needlessly shitty racing that provided so many advertising opportunities. At the end of the race, Shana asked who won. It was Jimmy Johnson in the number 48, his first Daytona 500 victory. Did he earn the win? Aside from keeping his nose clean by not starting any pushing and shoving, really he just managed to stay out of the way of wrecks in front of him. Then a huge stroke of luck as he managed to draft past the front of the field just before a final yellow flag came out. When the field finally resumed under green, there was only one lap left and no one could pass him.
Great job dude, can’t wait for the Lowe’s to come to Corvallis!