Monday, November 23, 2009

A Few Things We Won't Miss in the Off-Season - Admen Take Note

To a NASCAR fan there are few things more annoying than 50 single file laps in a row or a 1-hour rain delay on race day. But bad television commercials during the race might just trump all grievances.

It's bad enough that there often seems to be more ad time than race time. But when those commercials are in ill taste or just plain annoying, well it makes this fan want to turn off the TV and turn on MRN.

Below are a few of the commercials I hope die a quick and painful death in the off-season - followed by my ideas for some ads that fans just might enjoy.

The Joey Logano/Home Depot spot: At the beginning of the season, this ad wasn't bothersome in the least. It was a warm, almost cute, way for Home Depot to welcome Logano into the sport's highest eschelon - and the cameo by team owner Joe Gibbs was an added treat. At least those were my thoughts the first 500 times the commercial aired. However, by mid-season, perhaps the time for hailing Sliced Bread's entree into Cup had ended. The same tired and outdated commercial even ran during Homestead. I'm all for showing a newbie a warm welcome - but 10 months of welcome might be a little much.

Tony Stewart Old Spice Swagger commercial - I can see why this commercial seemed like a good idea at the time. To be honest, the concept isn't terrible - the idea that Old Spice Swagger can transform Stewart from a phobic, asthmatic nerd into a driver who's smooth with the ladies. But every time I hear the boy in the ad start hyperventilating at the escalator, I think "this time, the kid's gonna collapse on the set and die." It makes my skin crawl. And it's not that I'm against children in NASCAR commercials. The 2007-2008 Mike Wallace Geico spots were sheer genius. Perhaps the folks at Old Spice should take notes.

Kevin Conway/Extenze - Seriously, does NASCAR need sponsorship so badly that it's willing to take money from a company which boasts Ron Jeremy as a former pitchman? Poor Conway is all I can say. Although he doesn't claim to actually use the male enhancement product on camera, the decals on his truck leave you wondering. And somehow I doubt he is assailed by fans at every track, who just want to tell him how much Extenze has changed their lives. Some things are best left to the imagination.

Castrol Edge Think With Your Dipstick - Yes, it gets your attention. Yes, the first few times you see it you are taken aback, almost uncomfortable and not sure whether you should laugh or look away. But in the end, the Scottish sadist running around whacking men with a dipstick is just plain obnoxious.

So now that I've skewered the ads that irritated me during the 2009 season, may I suggest a few commercials that might just be a pleasure to view? (Unless of course, they're broadcast while there's action on the track).

Juan Pablo Montoya for Taco Bell - I realize there may be sponsorship conflicts with such an idea, but what a way for Juan Pablo to make the most of Bob Griese's ill-conceived and politically incorrect comment. After all, a few days after Griese's suspension, Montoya even joked on Twitter that he was indeed going to Taco Bell for lunch that day. Talk about an opportunity for Taco Bell to "think outside the marketing bun."

Jimmie Johnson for Dos Equis - Johnson may not be viewed as "the most interesting man in the world" by every NASCAR fan, but he'd be the perfect mug for this beer brand's Hemingway-esque ad campaign. With the use of facial hair alone, Johnson can look smooth and suave or rugged and tough by turns. And with lines like "he lives vicariously - through himself," and "his blood smells like cologne," this current series of ads seems written for the four-time Champ who boasts a model wife, cool demeanor and testosterone-fueled talent (compilation video below).

Danica Patrick for Pantene - Yeah, yeah, I know Patrick may or may not be joining the NASCAR boys in 2010. But if she does, she'll have lots of gender assumptions to overcome. So perhaps next season (should Danica jump series) would be a good time for Pantene to re-introduce its popular "Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful," ad from the 1980s. After all, Patrick has taken lots of flack for her good looks and body-baring photo shoots. Why not capitalize on it?

Carl Edwards for P90X - What better way for a gal to spend a Sunday afternoon than watching a race peppered by the buff Edwards lifting a few hundred pounds of iron? Next to Mark Martin, Edwards is arguably the fittest man in NASCAR - so I'm thinking this commercial should give us a look at his own personal workout routine (and a look at his abs wouldn't be unwelcome).


  1. Great blog. This has been the worst year for NASCAR commercials, IMO because there's too few of them (I would assume because of the economy). I feel the same way about the Joey Logano commercial -- cute at first, but no reason to be showing it during Homestead. He already has a car, a team owner, probably more than 300,000 fans. He even has a win. I hope they come up with a new commercial for Joey for the Daytona 500. And the Mike Wallace Geico commercials with the kid were genius. Geico, can we bring those back? If you could get Max Papis and his son to agree to some commercials, that would be adorable.

  2. Rebecca, great idea about Max Papis...his boy is too cute.

  3. I would have to agree, however, I think that it is time to stop airing Viagra/Cialis commercials. Seriously, there isnt a guy out there, that doesnt know he has options when his "partner" can no longer perform on his own. But do fathers across America, really need to be telling their toddlers what Cialis and Viagra are actually for.......

  4. How could you miss any Go Daddy commercial staring Danica Patrick? They certainly top my list! I used to enjoy watching racing with my son, but I've got no desire to watch softcore porn with's bad enough that he roots for Kyle Busch!

  5. ...pick a driver and watch Hotpass or tape the race. No need to *ever* watch a commercial!

  6. @ Anon 3:36, I agree. Enough already.

    @ Jen, too funny.

    I have a better idea about Tony and Old Spice. Show him back in Jr High at a school dance. Boys at that age are more afraid of girls than an escalator. Then show him grown up with the women. Would have made more sense. Why would he be afraid of an escalator? He was racing as a kid.