Los Angeles -- In a surprising turn of events for the first time in history, popular micro-blogging outfit Twitter took another step from social networking towards being a more traditional media platform on Sunday, as it aired a series of TV commercials to promote its tie-up with Nascar motor racing event.
Omid Ashtari of Twitter sent a tweet informing the community to check out the social networking site's first commercial spot.
The latest ads, featuring Nascar drivers posting tweets from their smartphones behind the wheel, promoted a new-style Twitter page collecting posts about the race. A dozen of Twitter's own staff selected posts and pictures from drivers and fans using the #NASCAR identifier, as part of a wider media partnership with Nascar struck last month.
Seven short, 15-second ads were aired during Sunday's Nascar motor racing event, the Pocono 400, features NASCAR racer Brad Keselowski seated in his car and taking a picture of the scene with his iPhone. Keselowski, who came in 24th place during the race, is taking advantage of the iPhone's capability to upload pictures directly to Twitter. He is an active user of the site.
Twitter ran its first-ever TV ad Sunday during the 2012 Pocono 400 NASCAR race featuring racer Brad Keselowski.
You can always make out when a tech company is becoming modern and sophisticated in its marketing strategy, and this is the most high-profile example yet of Twitter's attempts to cozy up to the TV industry.
What is especially interesting about the TV commercial is how Twitter touted the NASCAR hashtag at the end of the TV spot. Instead of the typical Twitter.com/NASCAR address we would typically see, it included a hash sign: Twitter.com/#Nascar.
According to various media reports, this is the beginning of Twitter's promotion of its new hashtag pages:
“The updated Twitter for Facebook integration now includes additional rich media experiences related to the first photo, URL, @mention or #hashtag in the cross-posted tweet,” Twitter spokesman Robert Weeks told Mashable last week. “This update is available for everyone.”
Interestingly, the Nascar page can be viewed by people even if they are not registered users of Twitter and initiates the California-based Internet company's first big attempt at a curated, editorially driven approach.
“A 15-second spot is the on-air equivalent of a 140-character tweet,” said Twitter's head of communications, Gabriel Stricker, adding that the Nascar tie-up was part of Twitter's mission to bring fans closer to the things they care about.
Additionally, Twitter's Help Center also described the changes: “We have fixed many issues with the Twitter for Facebook integration, including the ability to post to Facebook Pages, and added some new features!”
Moreover, Twitter has been building ties with broadcasters to direct traffic to its site and build buzz online that can in turn boost TV audiences. Twitter worked with Viacom on the MTV Movie Awards and Country Music Television awards, encouraging fans to vote for their favourite acts and artists to tweet during the events. Last month, ESPN said it would work with Twitter to co-produce content around sports events such as the NBA finals.
Keselowski made headlines in February when he tweeted updates and pictures following an explosion and fire on a NASCAR track that delayed the Daytona 500. His documentation of the event earned him more than 100,000 followers in under two hours.