nascar daytona 500 social media You snooze you lose are what some are thinking after the grand finale of the 2012 Daytona 500.

As if rain delays,  crashes and jet fuel fires wasn't enough, we also got to witness a fluke accident with a service truck as well as a driver gain 140,000 twitter followers in just a couple hours.

The 2012 Daytona 500 happenings are an amazing case study and testament to the power of interactive, social TV.

I'm going to cover two different scenarios in this post. Each one highlights different aspects of leveraging real-time marketing, social media and brand opportunities.

Read on to learn more…

1. ServiceMaster and Tide gets unexpected brandstand attention!

Driver, Juan Pablo Montoya crashes into ServiceMaster truck on turn 3 of Daytona track.
Unfortunately one of their trucks just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. As Montoya lost control of his car he ran smack into the ServiceMaster truck carrying a load of jet fuel. Immediately there were flames making a mess of the track. Luckily everyone was okay as far as I know.

ServiceMaster 24 Hour Tampa is our client. They were one of our very first clients when we started our business a couple years ago. An amazing company filled with real, down to earth people who go the extra mile and care about their customers.

ServiceMaster and Tide both gain a magic brand moment! 
Often times misfortune is followed by opportunity. As the ServiceMaster truck sat on the side of the road burning from the rear it garnered a LOT of attention. All eyeballs were on the fire, the cleanup and the beautiful ServiceMaster logos on both the side and hood of the truck. The side of the truck was dented yet you could still see the logo. The logo on the hood looked 100% in tact.

So as millions watched them clean the track millions also were reminded of the strong, reliable ServiceMaster brand. The yellow color combined with the strong stature of the truck appeared quite bright and bold. It was a positive brand image.  I can guarantee many will wake up in the morning with the image of Montoya's spinning car, the yellow truck and of course the ServiceMaster logo in their head.

Tide was able to catch some of the action as well since the clean-up team was using Tide to clean up the fuel spill. There were tens of boxes of Tide lined up on the track.

Sponsorship & being at right place at right time has it's benefits.
ServiceMaster is a sponsor of Nascar. I'd bet those few minutes on the track today probably delivered the ROI for all years paid sponsorship to date. They were definitely in the right place at the right time tonight during Daytona 500!


2. Real-Time Social Media Opportunity: One driver maximizes, other driver misses out, big time! 

After crashing his car into the ServiceMaster truck, Montoya was able to walk away from the car, thank goodness.

Dave Blaney started trending on Twitter when he unexpectedly took the lead.

daytona nascar @keselowskiUnfortunately Dave doesn't have a Twitter account and his website is under construction. However, his competitor Brad Keselowski did have a Twitter account. Brad also now has an extra 140,000 Twitter followers as a result of of him being ready to maximize the real-time social media opportunity.  Brad can be found on Twitter at @keselowski.

Brad tweeted a live photo from his car as he watched the workers put out the fire. He then continued to respond, engage and tweet with those wanting to engage with him. The live tv coverage showed Brad walking on the track and tweeting! Only at Daytona!

Brad gained 140,000 new Twitter followers within a couple hours. He gained 50,000 new Twitter followers within the first 30 minutes after the crash!

daytona brad Keselowski twitterKudos to Brad as he was one of the few drivers tweeting personally and tweeting real-time with his fans. There may have been more, however, they were not as visibly apparent or were not using the hashtags #Daytona500 or #Nascar.

How did Brad benefit from his few moments of tweeting and taking time for his fans? Well at the time I wrote this post (a couple hours after the Daytona 500 2012) he has 202,000 Twitter followers! Go Brad!

Big congratulations also to Matt Keneseth who took first place in the race! Matt hasn't tweeted in 11 hours from the time of this post. He has 66,000 Twitter followers which is just a few more than what I believe Brad started out with tonight. My guess is if Matt would have been able to send even a few tweets tonight he could have at minimum doubled and more than likely tripled his Twitter following.

3. You Snooze You Lose! 

Brands ignoring social media are missing out. Where was Dave Blaney's marketing team? Why didn't he have a Twitter account? Why didn't his marketing team take the two minutes to set one up as soon as they heard he was trending. The fact he was trending and didn't have a Twitter account was announced on the live TV Daytona 500 coverage. The most important question I have is did they know he was trending and did they even know there was an opportunity he missed out on? Or did they just ignore the fact and as a result miss out on an opportunity to connect with hundreds of thousands of fans?

I simply do not understand why brands, celebrities and any public figure would want to ignore social media. If Twitter is where your fans are, then why wouldn't you want to leverage the communication channel to connect with them? Why wouldn't you do your research to understand what social platforms your fans, partners and target markets are using so you can leverage them to engage, communicate and foster relationships during one of your biggest events of the year?

daytona nascarCase in point is during the race tonight I received numerous tweets from people and brands, all part of the Nascar and Daytona 500 ecosystem. From owners of car mechanic shops with only a few followers to sports junkie tweeters to sports media. They were all ready and eager to follow, tweet, retweet, engage and show some social love to the people and brands willing and able to do such.

Given the amount of money given by brands to sponsor these drivers, the size of their teams, I question why they are not investing in social media? Why is a little one man mechanic shop taking the time to engage, look for Twitter lists so he can follow his favorite driver, yet the drivers themselves are not there to communicate and have not even taken the time to join the platform.

I am surprised the brands who sponsor these drivers and teams are not demanding that there is a social media component to their sponsorship and driver's marketing plan. This is true for any brand sponsored sporting related event or activity. Where is the gap? Is it in the agencies serving them, or the driving teams not seeing social as a priority?

Big missed opportunity in my book. Bottom line I think we have just touched the tip of the iceberg with adoption of social media. When events as large as Nascar and Daytona 500 are not maximizing social media, we have only just begun my friends.

For any driver, team, agent or brand wanting help with social media component at your upcoming races or event, this year or next you know who to call. I promise we won't be shy in telling you our honest opinion and getting you on the zoom track to leverage each and every opportunity possible to inspire, connect and achieve results.


Join the conversation. 

Matt Weinberger, sports analyst and writer for reached out to me during the Daytona 500. He just published this article “All Fired Up from Nascar's Big Race” and will also be joining us for a lively discussion on the #GetRealChat Twitter chat at 9pm et tonight. We'll be discussing the race, the social media opportunities leveraged, missed and why it's important for brands to quit ignoring social media. We'd love to have you join the discussion and share your opinions on the race and surrounding media. You can also join the private Facebook group for pre and post chat conversation.

Your Turn

What are your thoughts? Did you watch the race? Did you wake up with a ServiceMaster, Tide or other logo in your head? What are your thoughts on brands and individuals being left behind in social media?