Curtains, romance novels, bacon… is there anything NASCAR won’t brand?

NASCAR pets calendar, high heels, steak branding iron and romance novel

NASCAR pets calendar, high heels, steak branding iron and romance novel

Is there any kind of product you can’t buy with a NASCAR logo on? After a few minutes searching it turns out probably not…

Beyond the usual fare of videos, models, books and games there is some truly weird and wonderful NASCAR tat out there.

With NASCAR play mats and a NASCAR ABC book you can indoctrinate your youngster in the wonders of America’s favourite motor sport.

Show your passion for America’s favourite motor sport in your home with NASCAR curtains and a NASCAR gazebo. Animal lover? Grab a 2009 NASCAR pets calendar.

Need a present for the lady in your life? Treat her to NASCAR high heels and one of over 60 NASCAR romance novels (see more of them here). Here’s a sample of the action:

Years ago, Sylvie had loved Hugo with all the fiery impetuousness of youth. But she’d had a secret that had torn them apart. Now she had a chance to atone for her mistakes??and save the life of the child she’d left behind. But doing so meant dealing with her ex-husband, Hugo, again??and having the strength to finally tell him the real reason she’d left him and the world of NASCAR behind.

NASCAR’s conquest of the kitchen is also complete. You can cook NASCAR recipes on your NASCAR slow cooker, brand your steaks in the number of your favourite NASCAR driver and even decorate your cupcakes accordingly.

NASCAR bacon: it cooks in ten seconds, but can you buy a NASCAR microwave?

NASCAR bacon: it cooks in ten seconds, but can you buy a NASCAR microwave?

If you find real cooking too much of a chore NASCAR’s line of ready-cooked bacon (“microwaveable, ready in 10 seconds!”) and burgers is what you need. Afterwards you can use a NASCAR toothbrush to get the taste out of your mouth.

So what’s my point? That NASCAR is a cash-hungry corporate behemoth that will slap its logo on any old tat? No. Well, maybe a little bit.

But my real point is this: NASCAR knows how to do marketing. Now I’m not interested in buying a Kimi Raikkonen waffle iron or a Lewis Hamilton foot spa – but nor am I any likely to spend ??225 on an F1 mouse mat.

Bernie Ecclestone is trying to juggle competing demands for more money from the teams and the need to pay back CVC’s debts. Formula 1’s under-developed marketing and merchandise potential offers a clear opportunity to do that.

NASCAR’s approach is to brand an enormous quantity of mass-market products. The exact same approach would clearly not fit F1’s image. But extending its product range beyond prohibitively expensive watches and wallets could open up huge new revenues for the sport.

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17 comments on Curtains, romance novels, bacon… is there anything NASCAR won’t brand?

  1. Pre-cooked bacon? Ewwww.

  2. the limit said on 15th December 2008, 16:02

    I think deep down, all F1 fans wish that the sport was marketed along the lines of NASCAR. At times it is easy to find faults with the Americans, but they have always excelled at their marketing.
    Maybe Ecclestone believes that in ‘treating them mean keeping them kean’ mentality works with the average joe punter, I rather favour the NASCAR approach. In that, I am not suggesting that F1 fans switch to watching their racing at oval tracks during tailgate parties, but extra exposure to F1 is surely the best way forward for the sport.
    NASCAR is just so excessable, to everybody. It is an everymans’ sport, much like the Premiership in England is. Formula One is far more elitist in its attitudes, which comes across perfectly in men like Ecclestone and Mosley.
    In that is the real tragedy, because the sport of F1 could be far far better than it really is. The product is good, very good, but poorly advertised.

  3. Seedy001 said on 15th December 2008, 19:17

    I’m with you on this, Keith. I’ve always found it laughable that I could go onto nascar.com and buy dog clothes with Jeff Gordon’s car number on it.. it’s a bit OTT. Still at least they’re more accessible with their fan-base and that’s the whole point of the F1 vs NASCAR debate: they’re polar opposites and it would be nice if F1 would strike a balance in between.

  4. My local Tesco stocks F1 related clothing and accessories. All at reduced prices in an effort to try and flog ‘em. Some of it is particularly laughable and tacky, especially the fleeces. Horrible!

    I can understand F1 fans buying certain team or driver related items, but why would they be interested with something that has the F1 logo emblazoned upon it? You wouldn’t ever see football fans with the Premiership logo on it would you?

  5. Terry Fabulous said on 15th December 2008, 23:12

    El Gordo when I went to USA a few years ago I was staggered at the quality of the food. Everything in the supermarket had added sugar or chocolate. You could buy Triple choc fudge ripple breakfast cereal. Thats a desert!

    But on topic, I do believe that F1 merchandise is far too limited in range and completely too expensive.

    We should remember the first rule of fandom (which I am making up) – Get them when they are young and you have them for the rest of their life. We should be doing everything we can to get boys and girls under 10 to dress up like little Lewis’s broom brooming around the lounge room and then sit back while they spend their hard earned on F1 for the next 60 years!

  6. Flip & Fill said on 15th December 2008, 23:29

    I understand that they want to keep a certain level of quality & exclusivity to some of their merchandise (hence the £225 mousemat) but the sport is really missing out on a lot of potential profits.

    There’s loads of things we all buy anyway & if we could get some F1 branded versions of them then a lot of us would buy them.

    Maybe not pre-cooked bacon but you can get your kids bedroom completely branded in other sports logo’s, why can’t F1 have something similar ?
    I would have loved to have had an F1 themed bedroom when I was younger (and still would now if the girlfriend would agree).

    There’s loads of unlicensed F1-Style stuff & even a few things like this: http://pcp-interiors.co.uk/PCP-headboard-F1.html, so why can’t we get official versions ?

  7. winterbear said on 16th December 2008, 9:33

    Terry,

    You hit the nail on the head. Get the kids interested and you have em for life.

    I am a fan because my father subscribed to road and track. I loved the look of the cars in the late 60’s early 70’s… I cut up some of his magazines to make book covers for my school books. I read the race reports every month with anticipation, Seeing the one or two races on television was the big thrill.

    If I had not read about the races in the 1970’s I dont think I would be as big a fan as an adult. F1 would do itself a huge favor to focus its merchandise more on the kids.

  8. bernification said on 16th December 2008, 10:25

    When I was a kid, in the 70’s, there were some sticker books that came out for F1 and bike racing. These got loads of kids into F1 and bike racing.
    Well, that and the fact that James Hunt and Barry Sheene were at the top of their game, and both seemed to be thoroughly good blokes.
    But pleeeeese, F1 bacon! I don’t want this for the same reason that I don’t want Clarkson and friends from top gear presenting F1. It would make a mockery of it.

    I mean, romance novels! What is America coming too?

  9. NASCAR may market all that crap with their brand on it, but I’d guess their sales are low. Where all the sales money goes is to team and driver branded products. And a further guess would be most of that loot is driver oriented.

  10. bernification: Top Gear are a bit -too much- for Formula 1, so that’s understandable, but a bit of their passion would certainly help the pre-race of any series. My brother won’t watch races with me, but three English guys drag racing in cargo vans for the purpose of review? That, he saves in the TiVo.

    GeorgeK: Yes, they’re selling the drivers (and that’s by far moreso than the teams, Nascar types rarely talk about teams.)

    I could remember who is responsible for a radio commentary I once heard…

    “Nascar will let you spend $250,000 to advertise on Jeff Gordon’s jock…”

  11. Great post Keith, and after living in America for all of my 22 years, a topic that I am well-qualified to talk about.

    You all make some very good points, and i’m quote happy several of you like the food on this side of the pond! Indeed, NASCAR as done a great job of marketing products and clothing of all sorts to the average fan, putting it in the same marketing landscape as most mainstream American sports. With that said, here are a few things to consider…

    – The NUMBER ONE factor that seperates NASCAR marketing from F1 is that drivers get to keep the same number year after year. This leads to a driver’s number- in the correct colors- becoming their main logo that is used in marketing. The examples of Jeff Gordon’s “24” in the top photo is a great example of this, and if it works so well, should F1 go back to letitng drivers keep their numbers?

    – For fans of F1 here in America, ordering F1 items cain be a royal pain in many cases. Kudos to McLaren for allowing customers to see the prices in their e-shop in dollars, but most other sites won’t allow the price in anything other than pounds or Euros. Sure, we can do the conversions, but McLaren dose have the nice touch on that issue….

  12. Obster said on 17th December 2008, 17:39

    Back in the 80’s, you could see that it was only a matter of time before the NASCAR and Disney companies crossed paths. They are both based in Florida. Every other person you spoke with in Orlando seemed to work for Disney. They was going thru a huge growth spurt fueled by marketing starting with their animated movie “The Little Mermaid”. Anyone who had kids around this time experienced this marketing overkill.
    Like I said, it was just a matter of time before some of Disney’s expertise migrated up I-4 to Daytona Beach.

    BTW-the most outrageous NASCAR item I ever saw was the Richard Petty salt and pepper shakers.

  13. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th December 2008, 21:04

    Gman –

    The NUMBER ONE factor that seperates NASCAR marketing from F1 is that drivers get to keep the same number year after year. This leads to a driver’s number

    I think you’re on to something their. Think how strongly 27 is associated with Gilles Villeneuve, and Red Five is with Nigel Mansell. I like the tradition of the champion having number one, but letting drivers keep their numbers if they choose to would be cool and would work wonders for marketing.

    We had a poll on this a while ago:

    Poll: Should drivers keep their numbers?

    Two-thirds were in favour of it.

  14. Not to be picky, but in Nascar, the numbers belong to the cars, but are strongly associated with their drivers, case in point Dale, Jr. being unable to keep his ‘8’ when he left the family team.

  15. An even better point chunter. But the NASCAR marketing is so effective that certain drivers numbers and sponsors will be forever remembered: Dale Sr #3 and Mr. Goodwrench; Dale Jr #8 and Bud; Dale Jarrett #88 and the big brown truck of UPS; Tony Stewart #20 and Home Depot.

    The list goes on and on, because the sponsors actively advertise their products with these guys.

    Is it the same in the UK and Europe with the F1 drivers? Or do the sponsors market and advertise the teams?

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