Twitter launches branded hashtag pages with TV spots (video)

11 Jun 2012

In a partnership with NASCAR, Twitter has introduced a page dedicated to the race series’ hashtag and, for the first time ever, has broadcast commercials advertising its new service.

The #NASCAR page features a banner of the top NASCAR-related images shared on Twitter, a stream of related tweets, and a panel of top people to follow who are involved with the sport. Users searching for the #NASCAR hashtag will automatically land on this page,while direct access can be gained through a URL.

Giving users more than just a real-time hashtag search, the page features content generated using a combination of algorithms and curation. That is to say: more good content, less noise.

Omid Ashtari from Twitter’s sports and entertainment team introduced the #NASCAR page in a blog post, where he promised “the best tweets, photos and perspectives from NASCAR drivers and their families, crews, commentators, celebrities and fans – all in a single timeline.”

Twitter on TV

For the first time ever, the microblogging company sent out a series of 16-second TV commercials to promote the new service. One of these advertisements aired during yesterday’s Pocono 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and featured driver Brad Keselowski in his race car, snapping a photo on his iPhone of something (unseen to the viewer) that makes him laugh. The tagline, ‘see what he sees’ follows, as does the #NASCAR hashtag and the page URL.

The rest of the ads are similarly simple and subtle, encouraging fans to follow their NASCAR heroes and people associated with the race to get their perspectives and add to the experience.


Will other brands take notice?

Though NASCAR is not a big sport this side of the Atlantic, when you see the Euro 2012 coverage from fans, players and other interested parties taking over Twitter, it’s clear that hashtag pages have a purpose for this kind of event. Hashtag searches have a tendency to trammel up all sorts of inane chatter and unrelated content piggybacking on a popular topic, but this curated platform will provide interested users with the quality content associated with a select topic.

If Twitter decides to replicate the NASCAR partnership with other brands, granting them their own hashtag pages, this would offer a new platform for brands and an improved form of engagement for users. If brands pay for the privilege, Twitter may have just hit upon a rival for Facebook Pages that can also generate revenue.

For now, however, the service is just for NASCAR only, and Ashtari writes that the experiment will continue throughout the summer’s Sprint Cup series.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.