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 SPEEDtv.com 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.
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