The ‘Dew Crew’ has spoken… weeks of fun ahead!

There’s seldom a movie released these days that doesn’t end up splattered across somebody’s NASCAR livery.

Statistically it’s very rare that these special liveries don’t jinx their drivers into having a nightmare day at the office. Of course the one exception is Jimmie Johnson, who would stand a fair chance of winning if Goodyear forgot to bring enough tyres and had to raid its display car – hence ‘Five-time’ rolling into Victory Lane at Dover in a powder blue car festooned with furry friends from Madagascar 3.

At Michigan later this month Dale Earnhardt Jr will be driving a Dark Knight Rises-themed Impala, wearing one of four liveries that was put up to the fans’ vote by Mountain Dew via it’s ‘Dew Crew’ website. And they helpfully put out a reveal video, hence the post.

You could probably write a decent dissertation on the cross-promotion and data capture activities going on here. It’s impressive stuff.

Off the track Mountain Dew will be bringing out a Dark Knight-inspired Dark Berry flavour together with 6-oz cans of the original stuff that features a bat symbol which transforms to corporate green when it’s chilled to a drinkable temperature.

Something tells me that many coolers at Michigan will be brimful of the stuff.

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Geek chic, NASCAR style

Here’s one for Mythbusters fans the world over.

My wife has been suggesting that I invest in a new wallet to replace the dry, crumbling piece of steerhide in my pocket for several years now. And while researching a story – yes, it’s true – I happened across this little beauty in the NASCAR online store.

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Genuinely it was an accident.I had no intention of buying anything in the NASCAR store – mainly because for so long I simply couldn’t.

When I first visited the NASCAR store it either didn’t ship outside the USA. Later, when some bright spark realised that there was a potential market, it would have been more cost-effective to fly there and stay in a 5-star hotel than to pay the shipping, handling and associated fees.

I’ll be honest: it felt more than a little as though NASCAR didn’t want to sell anything outside its national borders.

Quite clearly this attitude has undergone a significant reversal, however – and so I have a new wallet. Which is rather special.

As you can see it’s silver. That’s because it’s made of duct tape. Now, my wife is a devotee of Mythbusters and so as her fellow fans will understand, she has a great appreciation of duct tape, its properties and uses.

So alongside repairing aircraft, building bridges and fashioning canons, here’s a new addition to the list: a wallet with a lifetime guarantee, and which was purchased and delivered to the UK for the grand total of $25.00.

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It’s just one of the bewildering array of items from clothing to barbeque tongs, that NASCAR has long been offering to its followers in North America – and which it would seem can now be bought from around the world at reasonable cost.

All of a Twitter

Now, very little should come as a surprise to NASCAR observers when it comes to the ways in which the sport presents itself itself to the public. But this move into social media is a real barnstormer.

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Across America NASCAR has placed itself on cereal packets, hotel receptions and consumer good promotions, via a range of its own products that runs from baseball caps to romance novels. The list of ways in which the sport has kept itself front-of-house is endless.

As of this week, NASCAR’s digital operation is catching up these traditional outlets fast; starting with the announcement that NASCAR has become the first professional sport to create an official partnership with Twitter.

The launch of twitter.com/#NASCAR effectively gives ownership of a large chunk of Tweets to NASCAR itself. Anyone wanting to discuss NASCAR on Twitter has to hashtag it, right? So by making your hashtag an official communications tool, you can talk directly to the people talking about you.

Up until now when Tweeters click on a hashtag, for instance #F1, they are shown a page littered with tweets which are random, disjointed and, in the case of this year’s #BahrainGP, plain bonkers.

By contrast, clicking on #NASCAR you immediately takes you to a smoothly-styled paged (pictured above) rather than a random stream of consciousness. Twitter feeds all #NASCAR tweets through an algorithm to NASCAR’s branded page, beautifully laid out and offering ways for Tweeters to engage with the sport through the site.

Clearly the time when most people are tweeting about a sports event is when it’s happening, so there are a number of incentives being laid out to encourage Tweeters to participate at this weekend’s Pocono event – renamed the Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR.

For the fans the trade-off is increased involvement. A great deal of extra ‘behind the scenes’ information from Pocono will only be available via Twitter – even to fans in attendance at the event. In addition there are plans for a “Tweet Your Seat” competition: effectively an online lottery draw in which the winning seat number will be crowned as honorary starter and wave the green flag to start the race.

Some may say ‘Big brother’ and suspect that, having offered ‘beads to the natives’, soon NASCAR is going to be censoring Tweets before long. Others may think that someone in NASCAR’s digital department has got a bit too addicted to reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But however you feel about it, the focus is increasingly on social media across all entertainment and that isn’t going to change in a hurry.