Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Wednesday March 28, 2007
I hate to write about the same topic 2 weeks in a row, but with this column running so late in the week (and past deadline!), all the concerns with the weeks BIG story, the CoT, have already been all worked out by all the other respected journalists that seem to be so plentiful these days. Fortunately for me, I have never been accused of being a “respected journalist.”
All I will say, for now, about the CoT is this; I said a long time ago that absolutely NOTHING will be learned about how the CoT actually races from Bristol. The same is true for next week, too. Bristol was the stupidest place on earth for its debut. “Stupid” is NASCAR's forte….not only in their decisions that affect the sport of racing, but also in their perception of you, the casual fan.
Let us assume for a moment that I am one of those “casual” fans, and I have a cell phone. That should be an easy assumption, as everyone on the planet does. Let's further assume that my wireless provider is Cingular. Now, as a Cingular customer who happens to be a NASCAR fan, I am acutely aware that my wireless provider sponsors a rather competitive race car. I am also acutely aware that Cingular was bought by AT&T, and that the brand “Cingular” will soon cease to exist. I am aware of this last fact because I am the one that gets the bill every month. Are you with me so far?
Now, I don't know the exact date that the Cingular name will be phased out, but I DO know that in a month or two down the road, AT&T, not Cingular, will be my wireless provider. Cingular will have ceased to exist. Now, pay close attention here…because this is where Nextel and NASCAR assume you are stupid.
NASCAR and Nextel think, that just because the Cingular logo remains on the car, I, the race fan and the wireless customer, will not realize that I really now have AT&T! This is some of the most insane crap to come out of big business in years!
Listen up, Nextel. Listen up, NASCAR! Why do you insult me? I KNOW that certain companies were grandfathered in sponsorship when you took over the series in 2004. I KNOW that all other wireless companies were barred at that time from entering as a sponsor, BUT I AM NOT STUPID!
It is not ANOTHER company coming in. It is a company that got bought by another and had its name changed! No big deal. My phone service didn't change. My support of my provider’s car, if I liked him in the first place, did not change! Why should you care if the stupid logo on the car changes?!
How do you think I am going to feel as a (now) AT&T customer toward Nextel and NASCAR? I'll tell you, I would be resentful as hell! Why? Because it is pure, unadulterated nonsense!
Am I supposed to feel some grand sense of respect and loyalty to Nextel just because they had some overpaid lawyer write some BS clause in their contract with NASCAR as the Series sponsor? Is this their marketing plan to win me over as a Nextel customer? Do they think I am walking around in a drooling daze chanting “Nextel/NASCAR, Nextel/NASCAR, I like racing. Must switch providers. Nextel sponsors NASCAR. Must switch providers?!”
Not one “Cingular” customer is going to switch to you, Nextel! In fact, those that follow the No. 31 car are going to hate you for what you are doing, and rightfully so! Just as cautions breed cautions, arrogance breeds contempt.
As for you, NASCAR, the masses are already fed up with your ever more blatant greed and alienation of segment after segment of the fan base. If you people are supposed to be soooo market savvy, why do you continue to shoot yourselves in the foot round after round? The fans are not as stupid as you (sentence should end there!) think they are.
Soon, the gun will be empty, and do you know what? No one will be around to drive you to the hospital. No one will care. They'll all be watching the NFL.
Stay off the wall (but on your AT&T plan!),
Author’s Note: Last week, I mostly cut on Sunoco and their harassment of Shell and Kevin Harvick concerning the SIZE of Shell's logos on the winning Daytona 500 car. Sunoco doesn't like it because THEY are the "Official Fuel Supplier" of NASCAR. Well, since that article, a very astute reader sent me a great picture of a Sunoco sponsored car from back in the day when Unocal 76 was the Official Fuel Supplier. It did not arrive in time to be posted with the article, but it is priceless and, as the saying goes, is worth a thousand words. It can be found here:
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