Tuesday, March 3, 2009
NASCAR Fan Council Wants To Know About "Digger"
It's never good when NASCAR has to take time to ask about an animated character during an official survey of the fans about NASCAR TV. That is, however, just what the NASCAR Fan Council did in the most recent survey sent to participants.
Click here for the page that will let you sign-up to be on the NASCAR Fan Council. You will get surveys in your email asking about all kinds of different NASCAR issues from TV to merchandise. This company is basically the marketing survey arm of NASCAR.
The latest survey asks if fans like the NASCAR on Fox animated creation called "Digger." This season Fox has been on an unabashed push to get this character on the TV screen for one single reason. That would be a new revenue stream.
Fox Sports Chairman David Hill is not shy in speaking his mind on this topic. He wants to develop "Digger" as a brand in the same way that drivers market T-shirts and caps combining sponsor and sport to make additional money.
The problem for many fans is that "Digger" is inserted into live NASCAR racing at moments that some consider inappropriate. Serious explanations of crash replays or incidents on the track now are concluded with the forced chuckles of the NASCAR on Fox announce team as the animation plays once again. Key moments in the race have to wait while the Director shows the track-level camera angle and cues the animation one more time.
Over at cawsnjaws.com, Cheryl and her gang report that "Digger" appeared 38 times in the 231 minutes of the live race coverage. The character also has an episode of an original animated cartoon series that airs during the pre-race show on Fox.
One element to keep in mind amid all this talk is that "Digger" is gone when the Fox coverage of the Sprint Cup Series is over. Recently, we saw Darrell Waltrip hawking "Digger" merchandise on QVC and then appearing on SPEED's Trackside show with a full-sized "Digger" costume character in tow.
Should Fox decide to push the "Digger" agenda over to SPEED for the rest of the season it would signal a distinct change in the agenda of that network at the race tracks. "Digger" during practice and qualifying on Fridays and Saturdays would open a whole new chapter of this retail saga.
Unfortunately, the results of the Fan Council surveys are not made public. The one thing we do know is that when a question is asked about a specific made-for-TV element, something has happened to get the attention of the sanctioning body. For better or worse, "Digger" has now made the list.
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Thanks again and happy posting.