Sunday, July 1, 2007

SPEED's Racy Promos Get Female Fans Steaming


Her name is Melanie, and she has lots of friends. She is the new "promo queen" on SPEED. The question she asks over-and-over again is "can you handle it?" While she asks, she swings her underwear from her fingers. Apparently, she is not wearing any. Then, she slumps in a chair, wearing her big black high-heel boots and her dress that is just a little bit too tiny. How naughty.

One quick check of the watch, however, shows that it is noon on Sunday and families are tuned into one of the top-rated shows on SPEED called RaceDay. Kenny Wallace and Jimmy Spencer are making noise on the SPEED stage while they are surrounded by NASCAR fans. Half of these fans are female, and many of the fans have traveled to New Hampshire as a family.

When the RaceDay crew needs to get the latest news or most important interview, they call on their ace reporter. She is named Wendy Venturini. She has the respect of everyone in NASCAR and is the key to the success of this program.

One quick check of the NASCAR garage shows the prominent role that women play not only behind the scenes, but as one of the strongest demographics that make-up the incredible fan base of NASCAR. They are of all ages, from all over the country, and they value the things in life that most of us do.

SPEED has rolled-out a new "block" of shows under the "Can you handle it?" umbrella. They range from the dreaded PINKS to the soft porn of NOPI Tunervision, which is hosted by Charity Hodges, an absolutely vapid bikini queen. Central to these shows, as promoted by SPEED, is the treatment of women as mindless objects.

This is certainly going to come as news to Krista Voda, who just finished anchoring the infield programming for the Craftsman Truck Series race in Memphis. Voda is one of the most recognized SPEED celebrities because of her years of hard work on the NASCAR trail, and her appearance this season as a pit reporter on NASCAR on Fox. She brings instant credibility to the Truck Series.

Over the years, SPEED has enjoyed tremendous success, and absolutely colossal failures. Presently, their NASCAR programming on the weekends is a vital element to the continuing success of the network. They have managed to craft a block of programming that includes Trackside Live, Tradin' Paint, RaceDay, Victory Lane, and the brand new Survival of the Fastest.

That apparently does not bother Melanie. The camera shoots between her legs as she promotes the SPEED shows. A link on Melanie's SPEED webpage leads fans of any age to another SPEED page called "Fast Dates." The "NOPI chicks" are posed in positions called G-String Straddle, Bare Essentials, Hot Nurse Duo, and Blondes In Lingerie. For less than two dollars, SPEED will send them to your cell phone.

If SPEED wants to continue this type of lifestyle programming, that is fine. There is a place for that category on a twenty-four hour cable sports network. Perhaps, the place for Melanie to lose her undies and wear her mini-skirt is not on Sunday afternoon while NASCAR families wave to the camera while standing around the SPEED stage.

Hey Melanie, take a hike...can you handle that?

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21 comments:

wickedj said...

i saw about 8 zillion commericals with her in it last night when i was watching the truck race..annoying as HELL

shes kinda hot..whats her last name?

projectpappy09 said...

They have shown these "Melanie" commercials way too much in the past few days, in the same way that they showed the same Speedweeks commercial, sometimes 2 to 3 times per commercial break. SPEED should really not shove their programs down my throat.

bevo said...

My problem with her is her face, she needs a bag over that mug!

Bobby said...

This, unfortunately, is a byproduct of today's sports-and-sex mentality being sold, and I'm not a fan of it either.

There are bikini-clad models not just at NOPI (a popular compact-car drag racing show), but in many popular racing series worldwide.

That naughty look is very prominent in racing internationally. There are at least three scantily-clad girls at every car during an IRL race in Motegi, usually with a tied-up crew shirt and a bikini.

Pinks doesn't use that look because some of the racers on the series are women. Why sell with scantily-clad women when women are in firesuits, at the wheel, and winning the Pinks races (women have won on Pinks: All Out, and a second shared the win when track conditions forced termination of the taping).

That type of "lifestyle" programming is more belonging of the Spike TV channel (which I despise; older race fans should know why).

Women are treated as mindless objects in many forms of auto racing. There is the "Face of Champ Car," "Hawaiian Tropic Girls" used by the Automobile Club l'Ouest events (ALMS, et al), "Umbrealla Girls" in motorcycle racing, and grid girls in every form of racing (it is frowned by NASCAR, and not used in US races), and bikini-clad models everywhere.

Bernie Ecclestone requires them in F1, and Tony George has to hire a modeling agency in the Indianapolis region to offer the grid girls to Bernie's taste. He doesn't use them for the Indy 500 or Allstate 400 weekends. Usually the grid girls are shown 30 minutes before the race and video of them is frequently used by FOCA Television. In MotoGP, it's worse. When a MotoGP broadcast from Laguna Seca had umbrella girls promoting cigarettes, I called the California Attorney General because it violates tobacco advertising restrictions.

NASCAR is usually the sanest, as such mindless women are not acceptable in a garage area or grid, especially when female zebras patrol pit road in firesuits, or in official shirts and trousers, covered.

It's just as bad in the National Basketball Association. Last season the NBA all but forced the Boston Celtics, the last team without such ugly shows, to adopt the smut show of sluts.

The porno look has to go. The pro-family NASCAR shows are smarter.

Joe from Philly said...

SPEED is two networks. The Weekend network has absolutely NOTHING to do with the weekday network. They're going after two different markets here. Two markets that wouldn't want to be in the same room with each other for more than 2 minutes ;-)

Jo said...

Gotta agree, John! The SPEED promos are an insult to all racing fans. I've got hundreds of other channels I can watch, thanks to my satellite dish--and when SPEED treats me like that, I just take my remote and vote for "elsewhere." Hope SPEED gets the message!

Sonja said...

Speed will definitely lose Nascar fans because of these promotions. My family will not watch raceday if these promos continue on Speed. We don't want to see it. If they want to show that, it should be in the middle of the night.

Anonymous said...

Amen to this column. I am a female NASCAR fan and I watch Speed for the NASCAR news and information. I am offended by this pandering and use of women as sex objects to advertise their programming. I hope that Speed will reconsider this decision.

Anonymous said...

This just shows the old saying in advertising that "sex sells" is still alive even in these days of "political correctness" and "gender equality".

Mc Buck said...

I hope Speed channel keeps running these promos, even more often. Maybe it will rid racing of the condescending obnoxious people who think that Nascar and racing in general need to be pure and holier than thou as they are. Just like Kyle Petty's f bomb last week, he goes from leading a prayer prior to the race then screaming at Kenseth in the middle of the action. That was real. No, this sport truly is not G rated entertainment. Its got so much adrenaline generating action that if you ever got behind the wheel in a stock car race, at any level, you would begin to see what is missing in these homogenized telecast. Besides, if you really don't like the commercials, use your TIVO (that's probably why I don't know who Melanie is).

GinaV24 said...

Yeah, these promos are pretty hard core and I vote with my remote. I'm like a lot of female fans, I really don't want this sort of thing shoved in my face. Boy, we've come a long way, baby, haven't we? Or how about this? Speed can do an equal opporunity sleazy deal -- let's see some hot guys without their shirts in promos -- after all, Carl Edwards is a pretty buff dude! What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen any of these promos because I rarely watch Raceday anymore. I'm either running errands or watching something else on a different network. On Monday's, I'm in class until 8 p.m. CST so if any of these promos air during the Dave Despain/NASCAR show, I never see them, either.

However, it does sound like these promos are quite degrading to women and this is not good. One of my reasons for being a NASCAR fan is because of the 'family friendly' atmosphere and if SPEED has to use smut in order to get more male viewers to watch Raceday, then the ratings must be awfully low.

My thought is if they are going to insist on using near-naked bimbos to push their shows to get more male viewers, then why can't SPEED have promos featuring gorgeous hunks with muscle-bound bods wearing nothing but boxers? Or boxer briefs? Heck, I'd pay to see Mike Rowe from Discovery Channel World's Deadliest Catch and World's Dirtiest Jobs in a pair of boxers. That man is downright fine.

Christine

Anonymous said...

I agree totally! Forget Melanie - show us the host of the show Speed is promoting - Tyson Beckford!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyson_Beckford

Anonymous said...

I used to like Speed for racing info. But its becoming more and more about junk.

Anonymous said...

Wow! How quickly we forget, or does the new generation of NA$CAR fans just not know that for years and years there were at least two young females on stage with the winner every week. They wore one-piece swim suits, were photo-ed kissing the winner on the cheek, which seems mundane by today's standards but was pushing the envelope back then.

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the former Brooke Gordon a "Miss Winston" or some such? (Rules said drivers couldn't date those girls. Sure bet that's one rule Jeffie wishes he'd followed.)

And if you have seen some of the "things" (your best imagination here) in the infield at some of the tracks lately then anything SPEED can get on the air will seem tame.

I'm not defending SPEED's promos, just pointing out that NA$CAR is not as "pure" as some appear to think it is.

Ann_Ominous said...

Patty Petty was also a Miss Winston... they did not all come from the same mold as Brooke.

Dave Dispain got complaints that Wind Tunnel's Eye Candy had pretty sexy girls but no guys. The next one they did had a bunch of shirtless Europeans at an F1 race with their chests painted with car numbers. No, those guys were not "eye candy", Dave!!

At least Speed is using a brunette and not a blonde.....

Anonymous said...

Melanie's the best thing that's happened to SPEED since the NASCAR takeover of programming.

Anonymous said...

Her name is Melanie Minichino. She was in The Sopranos finale.

Speed channel is more like four channels in one. 1.NASCAR 2.Other Racing 3.Two Guys Garage, My Classic Car, Car Crazy, etc. 4.Pinks, NOPI Tunervision, etc.

TNN was better than Spike TV.

Anonymous said...

My Girlfriend and I both watch SPEED coverage of many events, shows and racing series'. Let me just put it in a way that will hit SPEED's advertizers in the gut!

Watching SPEED on DVR now we go, Melanie's on so Fast Forward we go, Don't watch those shows anyway don't you know, and now back to the show!

Too bad there were "Paying Customer" commercials in there.... Oh Well!!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

She gets my attention every time. Works for me. Keep at it speed