Wednesday, August 22, 2007

NASCAR "RaceDay" Follow-Up: Melanie

Back on June 1st, The Daly Planet wrote a column about Melanie, the new SPEED Channel promo girl. SPEED's new campaign featured this young woman challenging viewers with a single question, "can you handle it?"

Well, its been about three months and apparently lots of SPEED viewers are just about done handling it. On the message boards, and on Internet racing forums, the endless repetitions of her promos are taking their toll on the American psyche.

The original reason The Daly Planet addressed this issue was NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED. This show is often on-the-air around noon on Sunday, and back on June 1st it featured Melanie twirling her panties on her finger and asking "can you handle it?"

We felt that there might perhaps be a better time to "handle it" than during the biggest and most popular family-oriented show on SPEED. Did we mention noon on Sunday?

Now, almost any racing fan watching SPEED has seen Melanie literally thousands of times. SPEED forum users suggest that she is now like both the bikini model and the tasteless drunken mom on Texas Hardtails. Over and over again, no matter what show is being watched, there they are.

SPEED's Senior VP of Marketing, Lila Everett, said "this is the first campaign where we come out and say that we're confident in where we are and who we are as a network and this is going to be our message. It says girls, cars, party."

This "girls, cars, party" message leaves out one group that is pretty important to SPEED. That would be the female NASCAR fans. They already are girls, already have cars, and certainly can party. Demographics say NASCAR is almost fifty percent female in its fanbase, and that is a staggering number for a professional sport. The audience at RaceDay, and the other SPEED Stage shows confirm that dynamic every racing weekend.

SPEED's aggressive promotional campaign with Melanie is going to expand to movie theaters, fast-food restaurants, and even online gaming sites. It is aimed at the 18 to 35 year-old male and is called a SPEED Channel "branding campaign."

In an era where NASCAR on SPEED shares time with Pinks, Unique Whips, Payback, and NOPI Tunervision, this approach might be expected, and even understood. But, for some reason SPEED has a long history of beating a promo theme to death on-the-air simply by failing to limit the timeslots and the amount of times these spots are used.

As for Melanie herself, she is a working actress looking for more exposure. She said "the SPEED campaign will be a great way to get my face out there without having to do reality television."

It seems ironic that the entire campaign is designed to promote the "reality shows" on SPEED that they label as "lifestyle programming." Sometimes on SPEED, it seems as if adult females in American society do not even have a lifestyle. So, just remember...girls, cars, party.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below, or email if you wish not to be published. Thanks for taking the time to stop-by and leave your opinion.


SophiaZ123 said...

SPEED's Senior VP of Marketing, Lila Everett, said "this is the first campaign where we come out and say that we're confident in where we are and who we are as a network and this is going to be our message. It says girls, cars, party."


Well, judging by the crappy shows on SPEED, yes I can..but the VP is BASICALLY promoting the frat house PARTY mentality with all the drinking and driving and out of wedlock kids in today's world!?!?!?

Let's promote white trash. okey dokey.

I am SPEECHLESS at her comment John. (well almost)

Re: Melanie

Somebody posted on SPEED site weeks ago how hot this GIRL was...Then it became ...IF I SEE THIS WOMAN ONE MORE TIME I WILL PUKE.

Nice to see SPEED "Thinks" they know what folks want. I always turn the channel on commercial breaks when watching INC.

Busch Series Fan! said...

This show is just as bad as the California Girls they show during Raceday and Victory Lane on Speedtv. Awful! California Speedway can't fill the seats so they think this will do it????

Anonymous said...

No problem here.

She's not showing anything. She's not doing anything.

And repetitiveness? Come on. Try to watch a NASCAR race without seeing those three women hunting down Kasey or Tony and his "new policy" Home Depot spots. Several times.

Face it--while there ARE lots of female viewers who watch SPEED, I'm betting there are far MORE male viewers, and that's who SPEED is going to cater to.

Gilbert Sam, Jr. said...

New age in media.. Certainly, I'm in the younger tier of demos.. My friends who are not into auto, nor NASCAR and are the college age. They find themselves on SPEED, nowadays. It's about mass marketing and appeal, reaching out to other demos and commerical partners..

As far as I'm concerned, "girls, cars, party" sells. Half the things I read on here are cynical.. This is not your SPEEDVISION of the 90s and definitely not NASCAR of the 90s.

Anonymous said...

John, when are you going to tell us your Melanie story? Or is it still under wraps?
I dont think she's doing anything wrong, unless you consider looking pretty and wearing a miniskirt wrong. Twirling her panties was a bit much, though.
I remember a few weeks ago on Wind Tunnel, a female viewer wrote in to Dave and asked for more scantily clad men to go with the scantily clad women shown in Eye Candy. He responded by giving them what they want.
Just accept it, the prime advertiser demographic is males from 18 to 35. They spend the most money, so advertisers cater to them.
Kevin in SoCal

Tripp said...

Speed wants to be Spike TV on nitrous.

To be fair, Speed is a network in search of an audience. There is not enough good track action to be "all racing, all the time". In cutting back back on NASCAR-based programming, they have been casting a wide net in search of a crop shows that to cement a new image. "Launch Hour", which is a series of pilots that underscores the "girls, cars, party" theme is an aggressive means to develop that kind of programming.

While Speed is hyping this new image, things are still good for race fans because racing still rules the programming schedule. Aside from NASCAR, they cover:
- F1
- GP2
- Hooters Pro Cup
- Rolex Sports Car

This is a lot of racing and doesn't include the two-wheeled variety. It would be illogical for Speed to change their established racing lineup and alienate their sizable audience of race fans.

What Speed has not done is leverage their audience into non-racing program viewers. If the "Pimp My Monster Chop Pink NOPI Bling" secures the male retinas from 18-35, good for them. It helps pay for the racing coverage and gives them a reason to stay on the air from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day. You didn't actually think that reruns of CASCAR and V8 Supercar races and countless hours of Barrett-Jackson were doing to do it?

While Melanie may be the latest trailer-trash icon for those who think "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" was a documentary film. It's a small price to pay to enjoy the programming that race fans truly want. They might complain, but they'll come back to watch the racing for the same reason Trekkies on occasion tune to Spike TV.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Remember, this is a NASCAR- oriented site. I will let comments go, but please keep them referencing NASCAR. Re-read the article if you think I am trying to suggest SPEED has a problem.

What we are discussing is what time and how many of these promos should be in NASCAR programming. Is ten promos in two hours of RaceDay too much? Fifteen? Twenty?

When do viewers say when, and how do you express your feelings about this issues. Hopefully, you can do all of that right here. SPEED executives read this blog every day, I know because the email me when I spell their names wrong.

jfs-va said...

I'm a few years beyond the target demo so my comments may be meaningless to the SPEED folks.

I see your point John. The advertisements with Mel are not for NASCAR programming, yet they show them a zillion times during NASCAR shows. Now of course that's no different than the way promos work on any station (Saving Grace anyone?). But I have this running joke with my ten year old son when we see her on the tube. I usually groan or say ugh, not her again.

I'd love to hear if viewership picks up amongst the target demo as a result of this blitz.

bevo said...

The worst part of this?
We know that her name is Melanie...

Mission accomplished.

SophiaZ123 said...

I never knew her name was Melanie until John told us! :-)

She was just known as the BRUNETTE on every commercial to most of us, lol.

Still, i think it a tacky venture to shove in the face DURING NASCAR the more tawdry shows? I remember the Tx Hardtails commercials. OY VEY.

To be honest, I am getting embarrassed to say I WATCH SPEED CHANNEL.

Yes, I love all the racing but come on....They are asking for criticism John due to the BLURRING of what you are writing about imo?

You can't continue to push SLEAZE during family racing time...kind of like MANY STATIONS limit commercials to certain times of evening hours. I think that's a great idea. ( I AM NOT saying the BRUNETTE commercials are dirty, but poor taste. They have been toned down since the bikini on fingers incidents! I would not be happy to have little ones seeing that while watching CAR RACING STUFF)

Then again, I feel the same way about all those E.D. commercials during NASCAR. Holy Smokes if my late father were still alive, he would be squirming like all get out during sporting shows! He was an elegant, proper gent and maybe I am the prissy one of the bunch here. So be it.

It's not just SPEED but the lack of taste and civility in general.
If they want to run THE BRUNETTE commercials during NASCAR stuff, just do it ONCE per hour. The guys that watch the borderline soft porn shows KNOW WHAT IS ON IN PRIMETIME/late night.

I am just saying you can't be a split personality TV STATION in my opinion. Family AND SLEAZE, though it works for Jerry Springer, lol.

I shall go into the closet about SPEED as frankly, I am no prude but embarrassed at the shows I channel surf across late at night on SPEED when SOMETIMES LOOKING FOR HELLO, reruns of the races? Duh.

People seem to forget you can go from NASCAR to 'How far' will SPEED go to get viewers.

I think it's a fair criticism that the station I SOMETIMES LOVE, is ALSO turning my stomach.

Sorry if I was offensive to SPEED channel earlier but was just being honest. I respect your site and you, John. Sorry if I was out of line.

Will just keep my mouth shut on this topic for sure from now on.


Gilbert Sam, Jr. said...

Basically, all this is about "I don't agree with the commerical." Just because, its on durng my NASCAR time.. Well, instead of complaing about it, buy the 200k 30 second commerical slot, or turn your clicker.. It's basic. I don't endorse and def. not agree with commericals i'm offered.

Do you think, I need drug company commericals during my nightly news? NO! but thats the demo their selling!

I hope SPEED executives know where I'm coming from!

BTW: keep it up Daly, although, you still haven't out our clueless NASCAR host on ESPN2!

darbar said...

Well, I wrote the California Speedway and got an answer from some lackey. I complained about these Speedway girls and how they were presented on RaceDay. This person actually said that these women were "tools" that they hoped to use to promote the Speedway and the race. Can you believe it? This guy actually called them TOOLS. So you understand why women like this are used. He also said that since their Speedway is so far away from Nascar driver's homes in NC, they needed to do something to bring the racers to California. Yeah, like any Nascar driver would skip the race because it's so far from home. The excuses this guy gave me were so pathetic, I almost laughed. But the last straw was when he called the Speedway girls tools

SophiaZ123 said...

Wow! He actually called the women "TOOLS"?Wo Nelly...that's pretty tacky. I mean I understand sex sells, and let's package the ladies for one's use.... but goodness.

I always mute tv or turn the station with the complained about commercial BEGINS...i am just going to wear out the remote buttons having to use it so much. Even some folks from SPEED forums are SICK TO DEATH of her commercials. It's repetitive enough to sit thru the same junk during a race.

Or sometimes I am getting a snack or feeding the cats when said commercials start blaring.
If I were Samantha I would twitch my nose to turn the station...hasn't worked yet.

That's another reason I enjoyed the TNT show that had racing on my screen all night at Daytona. Their commercials in a box were NEW and some entertaining. :-)

But he called the girls, tools? That's a new one. Glad you gotta a response and you took the time to write them...but I had to comment..though I know "tools" is thrown around loosely these days in the business field. Does he consider himself a "Tool" when answering your emails??


wickedj said...

i have nothing useful to comment about but ive never seen this promo of her holding her panties... and as a 25 year old red blooded american like to see this?

yeah the promos are annoying..but hell so are the stupid programs like Unique Whips and NOPI

side note: the word verification wants to enter the word "fux" is it wrong i laughed out loud?

Ann_Ominous said...

With regards to the comment that Dave Despain gave the ladies what they wanted with regards to equal "Eye Candy" - not exactly.

What Dave showed was a bunch of shirtless flabby Europeans at an F1 race with their chests painted in team colors.

That was NOT the equivilant of cleavage girls!!

Sure it stopped the complaints.

We were scared he would show more of it!!!

And to get back to the subject: I'm so surprised they are using a brunette instead of a blonde!!

Mike the Madman said...

Fontana Speedway is trying to copy Formula 1 with the cheerleaders. That won't pull in any more fans and might actually chase away families because if you buy tickets to the upcoming race, you get a free calander with the cheerleaders in it. Just what every parent wants hanging in their kid's room I'm sure.

As to Melanie and the Speed Promos, sorry, but this dog don't hunt. Speed needs to "can" them since the bulk of their audience is the die-hard NASCAR fan. NoPI and the other stuff doesn't cut it in my book. Sex won't sell this stuff to folks who aren't interested in it.

Nathan Weston said...

I can't believe how uptight this country is about sex. It seams a little messed up when you can turn the tv to any chanel at any time of the day, and see someone getting shot in the head, or stabbed in the chest and no one seams to care, but if someone shows a little skin the whole country goes haywire.
Lets just enjoy Melanie twirling her panties, and think about what our children shoud be seeing. Something beautiful or senseless violence.