Pretty interesting turn of events happened earlier tonight at the Daytona 500. With 40 laps left, the race went under caution, and as usually happens, trucks were on the track to help clear off the debris.
What happened next was totally bizarre. Driver Juan Pablo Montoya was going down the backstretch when suddenly something ‘broke’ and he lost control of his car, sending it flying into one of the trucks on track to clean it. A massive fire was the result, as 200 gallons of jet fuel ignited from the crash.
The mess took over an hour to clean up. Luckily, driver Brad Keselowski had his phone with him, and avidly tweeted during the break, including the above photo, which is the first ever from a NASCAR driver from within his vehicle. Fox said that @Keselowski picked up over 55,000 Twitter followers during the break, and Fox showed him constantly tweeting and the other drivers mentioned it as well.
But while Brad was smart enough to capitalize on the break, Tide literally had the chance of a lifetime fall into their laps, and they missed catching it.
During the process of putting out the massive fire, a ton of material was dumped on the track, creating a huge mess. So how did NASCAR clean up that mess? By bringing out box after box of good ole fashioned Tide detergent. That’s right, Tide got the best product placement in a sporting event since we saw the Nike logo on Tiger Wood’s golf ball just as the ball fell into the cup at the Masters a few years ago.
Unfortunately, @Tide’s Twitter account left it’s last tweet 7 hours prior to its Daytona 500 appearance, and missed a great chance to capitalize on a ton of free exposure that fell in its lap.
Lesson for brands: Social Media monitoring is NOT a 9-5 job. As I said on Twitter, most non-NASCAR fans won’t have any idea what happened tonight, but Tide still missed a great chance to leverage the free exposure NASCAR and Fox gave it.
UPDATE: For bloggers, this is also a good lesson in the value of reporting breaking news. I gained about 120 visitors in 30 mins after publishing this post. Here’s today’s hourly traffic, note the surge at the end of this picture: