By on September 16, 2018

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.

[Image: NASCAR]

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12 Comments on “Emojisport: Hashtags in the Fast Lane… of NASCAR Marketing...”


  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    Wow. This comes off as a lot of whining over something that really doesnt effect(affect? infect?) you. Yeesh. Seems like a bit of a reach.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    “However, I would rather see tobacco products making a return to the hoods of cars instead of this goofy, millennial-focused nonsense.”
    You and Bernie Ecclestone! The rest of us think advertising tobacco directly to children is not good. Some even think tobacco causes unnecessary deaths.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    The slope just got a little bit steeper.

  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    How come all the drivers are wearing sunglasses? Could their artists not draw realistic eyes, or is it an attempt for the drivers to hide their faces in shame?

  • avatar
    brettucks

    This is not the ‘Game Changer’ they have been waiting for. They really look bad- would be funny to see how many times they are actually used

    “The Twitter hashtags and emojis have rallied fans around their favorite drivers during the most exciting time in our season,”.
    If this was true what made them rally before? was there no rallying?

  • avatar

    I think the tobacco comment is hyperbole…a reflection of just how bad things have become for NASCAR.

    It’s turned into the WWE on wheels. It’s racing’s version of GM’s self-immolation of the 80s and 90s.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    How the mighty have fallen. As a kid in the 1970’s, I loved NASCAR. All through the 90’s, though, it became the unrelenting force in US motorsports and has turned into as a previous poster put it: WWE on Wheels.

    I have no ideas on how to fix this. Every sport has it’s life cycle. But I’m reasonably sure this won’t help.

    Also, quit calling these last few races the “playoffs”. What inbred idiot thought of this?

    Or does SCCA own a copyright to the word “runoffs” that NASCAR couldn’t purchase?

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I’m with you. My wife got me into NASCAR, and I sure miss Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, and of course, Dale. I used to time my flights back from ski vacations to catch the Daytona 500 in the Denver Airport. But the past 5 years or so I’ve dropped out bit by bit. I have not watched a race this year. The endless format changes were annoying and the new format sucks. The dopey big wing year was an embarrassing effort to attract the Fast and Furious crowd. That was a big failure. My wife held on until NASCAR openly jumped into the pledge of allegiance fray – on the opposite side of her opinion. At that point, she bailed.

      NASCAR needs to go back to the format that brought racing north of the Mason-Dixon line and stick to racing. We can accept that the vast majority of NASCAR viewers share diametrically opposed views to us but please keep politics out of it.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

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

    That I would watch.

  • avatar
    2000ChevyImpalaLS

    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.


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