Emojisport: Hashtags in the Fast Lane… of NASCAR Marketing

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

While I throughly enjoy motorsport, my NASCAR fandom has dwindled over the years. It’s not a frequency I’m perpetually tuned into anymore, but I revisit the series regularly to keep tabs on what’s happening. However, when I put on Sunday’s race, I noticed something different about the cars. Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet had a picture of his own face on the side, as did Martin Truex Jr.’s Toyota. What the hell was going on?

A few minutes of investigation later, I learned that NASCAR had decided to slap emoji’s on the side of every important vehicle to celebrate the 2018 NASCAR Playoffs. Monster Energy Cup Series race teams have each unveiled customized hashtags and emojis for all 16 of the competing drivers in collaboration with the Race Team Alliance and Twitter. And it’s probably my least favorite marketing gimmick in motorsport’s history.

When did car numbers stop being sufficient? I understand that heavy handed sponsorship is the lifeblood of oval racing but this is almost embarrassing. I’d rather drive a car sponsored by Viagra than one with a cartoon doodle of my own face gracing the quarter panel. Furthermore, drivers have all taken these images (some they even helped design) and used them as profile photos for their individual Twitter accounts.

“The Twitter hashtags and emojis have rallied fans around their favorite drivers during the most exciting time in our season,” explained Jill Gregory, NASCAR executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “This year, we’re thrilled to work with Twitter and the race teams to bring this activation to life on the race cars for fans in attendance and those watching the NASCAR Playoffs on NBC and NBCSN.”

I’m not going to criticize this further. As NASCAR continues losing its longterm sponsors, it needs new financial opportunities to present themselves and a better way to reach prospective viewers. This Twitter thing is probably a semi-necessary evil. However, I would rather see tobacco products making a return to the hoods of cars instead of this goofy, millennial-focused nonsense. Most kids won’t think this is cool and adults will have no clue what do with it.

Hello self… pic.twitter.com/yQDqLDxtMA

— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) September 12, 2018

[Image: NASCAR]

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3 of 12 comments
  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Sep 17, 2018

    Showroom cars, weld the doors shut, take out the glass, install a roll cage and 5 point belts, go racing. That I would watch.

  • 2000ChevyImpalaLS 2000ChevyImpalaLS on Sep 17, 2018

    You can almost set your watch by it. Post an article about any aspect of NASCAR, and you'll get the doomsayers predicting the end, those complaining about the points system, and those who complain about the cars not actually being "stock" (shocker!). These same people will tell you that they don't watch, or haven't watched in years, and they'll mock you if you say you do. I've been a fan of NASCAR since I was a very small child. I would almost rather nobody at TTAC attempt an article on the sport, simply to avoid the inevitable, incessant whining that results. Review cars, the joys and pains of ownership, the junkyard, the business side... these are what this site does best. But stay away from motorsports here. Please.

  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
  • AMcA The '70 Continentals and Town Cars may have been cousins to the standard body Fords and Mercurys, they didn't have to be disguised, because they had unique, unbelievably huge bodies of their own. Looking at the new 1970 interior, I'd say it was also a cost savings in sewing the seat. Button tufted panels like the 1969 interior had require a lot of sewing and tufting work. The 1970 interior is mostly surface sewing on a single sheet of upholstery instead of laboriously assembled smaller pieces. FINALLY: do I remember correctly that the shag carpet shown under these cars was a Photoshop? They didn't really go so peak '70s as to photograph cars on shag carpets, did they?
  • Inside Looking Out Toyota makes mass market cars. Their statement means that EVs are not mass market yet. But then Tesla managed to make mass market car - Mode; 3. Where I live in CA there are more Tesla Model 3s on streets than Corollas.
  • Ltcmgm78 A lot of dirt must turn before there's an EV in every driveway. There must be a national infrastructure plan written by other than politicians chasing votes. There must be reliable batteries that hopefully aren't sourced from strategic rivals. There must be a way to charge a lot of EVs. Toyota is wisely holding their water. There is a danger in urging unplanned and hasty moves away from ICE vehicles. Do we want to listen to unending speeches every election cycle that we are closer than we have ever been to 100% electrification and that voting for certain folks will make it happen faster? Picture every car in your town suddenly becoming all electric and a third of them need a charge or the driver will be late for work. This will take a lot of time and money.
  • Kendahl One thing I've learned is that cars I buy for local errands tend to be taken on 1,000 mile trips, too. We have a 5-speed Focus SE that has gone on longer trips than I ever expected. It has served us well although, if I had it to do over again, I would have bought an ST. At the time of purchase, we didn't plan to move from 1,000 feet elevation to 6,500. The SE is still adequate but the ST's turbo and extra power would have been welcome.