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Nascar Grape Tomatoes?

In the world of business, cross-marketing is a big thing these days. In cross-marketing, companies use one brand to try to promote another, even, and perhaps especially, when the two brands are not at all related. Thus, this spring, the candy aisle in the grocery store features Star Wars M&Ms – some for the dark side of the force, and some more of your typical Jedi Knight style of colored chocolate candies.

Yesterday, my experience of cross-marketing hit a new low. My wife went to our local food co-op and brought home a little container of Nascar brand grape tomatoes.

These little grape tomatoes are not, as the naive among you might suspect, raised and sold by Nascar. They are, in fact, grown and packed by a company out of Plant City, Florida, called East Coast Brokers and Packers.

I’ve got to wonder what the heck the East Coast Brokers and Packers were thinking when they made this deal. Were they thinking that the Nascar name would encourage people to buy their grape tomatoes instead of anybody else’s? Well, think again. Here’s what I think of when presented with the Nascar brand name:
– Motor oil
– Squished things on dirty roads
– Exhaust
– Beer
Here’s what I don’t think of when presented with the Nascar brand name:
– Vegetable
– Salads
– Delicate perishable goods
– Nutrition
– Eating in

Perhaps the goal of this cross-marketing campaign is to produce the kind of cognitive dissonance that I am experiencing when confronted with the existence of a Nascar grape tomato. If that’s so, I imagine that we can expect a great deal more of this approach from Nascar. So, what’s next? Nascar mayonnaise? Nascar caviar? Nascar lingerie? The Nascar Symphony Orchestra?

29 comments to Nascar Grape Tomatoes?

  • random42

    My grandfather has a shelf of merchandise he collected that feature Pittsburgh Steelers (don’t ask. Steelers fans are nuts). There is, in fact, mayonnaise on there, as well as peanut butter, beer, cereal, and a number of other fine food products. Perhaps, “grow up big and strong like the Steelers”? But on beer?

  • Nascar Personal Lubricant.

    “Hi, I’m Guy Driver. When I get into my cockpit, I need the best performance I can get from my equipment. If the lubricant fails, and I seize up at a crucial moment, I could be crippled for life. That’s why I insist my crew use Nascar Personal Lubricant. Some of them haven’t been comfortable with it, but I tell them, if they use any other lube, I’ll have their ass.”

    Voiceover: “Nascar Personal Lubricant. When you can’t afford to slip up.”

  • mondopercipient

    What a disgusting display of arrogant prejudice!

    Many NASCAR fans love to have picnics and infield parties prior to and after a race.

    Many different foods are eaten, many of them delicious home-cooked specialties. Salads are just another delicious choice that many NASCAR fans enjoy, as do many other human beings. I personally don’t buy vegetables based on who markets them, whether that’s a so-called “farmer’s market” (often scam operations) or whether Michael Jackson endores the lettuce or whatever.

    But certainly just because a person enjoys the skill and technology aspects of NASCAR auto racing does not mean that they only eat “pork rinds”.

    Amazing bigotry!

  • HareTrinity

    Unless, of course, they’re just wondering why the company doesn’t promote it normally instead of lending the product its name?

  • Sure NASCAR fans will include tomatoes in their diets. Fine. But grape tomatoes aren’t the first food you’d think of in connection with any sporting event. (Large rotten tomatoes, maybe; but very few food companies are willing to market tomatoes specifically for throwing. “Now, extra rotten, thanks to the miracle ingredient Fraudlen!” ;-)

    If NASCAR fans have picnics at the races, why not market picnic-style food? NASCAR Hot Dogs, or NASCAR Potato Chips? (Admittedly, many people like tomatoes on their hot dogs. But surely you’d market the hot dogs first and then the tomatoes.)

  • Nice try, Mondo, but no one here ever said that NASCAR people only eat pork rinds – even if you choose to imply that we did say so by placing quotation marks around the words “pork rinds”.

    You know, people may like to eat before football games too, and a few of them may like to eat something with spinach on it, but that doesn’t mean that Green Bay Packers Spinach makes sense.

    Here are the things I said were associated with Nascar:
    – Motor oil
    – Squished things on dirty roads
    – Exhaust
    – Beer

    Bigotry? Hardly.

    Tomatoes and Nascar don’t go hand in hand. So stop demanding that Irregular Times fit your idea of political correctness, okay?

  • random42

    What bigotry? Aren’t you supposed to market on things that are related to your product? Sports stars go on Wheaties because the cereal is supposed to make you healthy like an athlete. Movie characters go on M&Ms because candy and movies go together like me and oxygen. One of my favorite games is “what the ad executives were thinking” with the trailers before movies. You want people to think “mmm, yummy”, not “Nascar?”.

  • mike

    No, no, no…You don’t understand, random42…It’s a simple ploy to get the redneck population to eat their veggies. Who knows? It might work.

  • mondopercipient

    I’m really confused. The post said it was written by a “Peregrin Wood”, yet, the reply was written by a “j clifford”, who said “I wrote”. I suppose they are the same person. Makes me laugh to think of one name posting a blog, and then another name posting a comment praising it, etc. Nice job!

    Also, I don’t “demand” political correctness from your site or anyone else’s. That’s not my bag, baby. I’m just ‘commenting’, as so invited to. So sorry if because the attitude of the poster leaves me too nauseous to eat my vegetables, or anything else.

    But the author (whomever that is) cleverly leave out what you “disassociated” with NASCAR: eating in (I guess the author doesn’t believe cooking is within the grasp of a NASCAR fan), nutrition (hence my pork rind comment) vegetables and salads (guess there’s no beer or deep-fried animal fat in either of those). I’m sure you’ve been personally at enough NASCAR races around the country to judge the fan base adequately.

    And the rest of the commentors show pretty much the same bigotry:
    John Stracke: only tomatoes the fans need are rotten ones to throw
    Mike: NASCAR fans = rednecks

    I only call bigotry where I see it. It’s typical of most bigots that they can’t see it in themselves and won’t admit it and deny it. Very typical.

    Please note that I’m not calling any of you bigots, but I’m merely identifying your work as bigoted work. Who you are is not me to judge, but your words are there for us to see.

  • Mondo,

    The explanation is simpler, and yet more complicated, than that.

    We’ve got a new blogging piece of software that we haven’t worked all the kinks out of yet. One of the kinks is that the software often changes the default author of a logged-in person in comments, so you have to go back and check it to make it right. If you’re a logged-in contributor to this site, but forget to check and correct it, you get the result as above.

    We’re trying to iron it out.

  • That’s exactly what happened. For some reason, Peregrin’s name comes up as the default when I log in – and if I don’t de-select it, the article gets attributed to him incorrectly. Thanks for bringing this programming bug to our attention.

  • And the rest of the commentors show pretty much the same bigotry:
    John Stracke: only tomatoes the fans need are rotten ones to throw

    No, I said rotten tomatoes were the only ones associated with sports in general.

  • Zing Berry

    Seems to me that Meghan is desperate to concoct some outrageous anti-Nascar bigotry where none exists. All that’s been said, really, is that the concept of Nascar doesn’t really fit with the concept of tomatoes, especially in terms of marketing.

    Sheesh! They’re right. Meghan is one of those politically correct Republicans – she just can’t stand that some people won’t follow her party line.

  • random42

    But but but…. It would be just as weird as if the cable channel TLC came out with a brand of tomatoes. Now I like TLC. I enjoy watching “What Not to Wear” and used to be a big fan of “Trading Spaces”. But tomatoes? What on earth has a cable station that doesn’t even carry a cooking show got to do with tomatoes? Paint supplies, heck, even a clothing line or make-up line associated with one of their shows is reasonable. But tomatoes? It is the same with Nascar. No one would blink at Nascar motor oil, gas, tires, clothing, or junk food. But see, Nascar is definitely associated with cars, people tend to wear clothes there, and junk food and entertainment go hand in hand. Popcorn and movie theaters. Amusement parks and those fried dough and powdered sugar things whose names I can never remember but they smell awesome. Baseball and hotdogs. Football and kielbasa and beer. That’s not bigotry; that’s the American way.

  • junga

    Yeah, why is Meghan putting down the American way? Why is she embarrassed by it? Now THAT’s the real bigotry! ;)

  • mondopercipient

    Nice job all of you!
    Zing and junga.

    You all show how well you can read and fall into your nonsensical party line. Keep criticizing “meghan”; according to my screens, she didn’t write a single post of any of those above!

    I didnt use the word “republican” in any post I made; that’s just your knee-jerk bigotry kicking in automatically.

    I’m doubled over laughing at you two! One can’t read the posts, and the other chimes in babbling without reading either.

    By the way, random, here’s a couple of quick quotes regarding your comments regarding TLC and cooking shows:
    “TLC features world-class documentaries on history, human behavior and science, commercial-free/violence-free programs for preschoolers, and “how-to” programs featuring expert advice from the pros on cooking, gardening and home improvement…”

    “…teach Brian the finer points of fine dining. In order to present himself as a gourmand, Brian must develop a passion for cooking…. …It’s an epicurean test of herculean proportions…”

    –And this from their web site:
    “Penne Pomodoro with Rapini and Chicken
    By Alan Dunn for Jennifer & Ron’s Wedding
    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. penne pasta
    • 2 lb. tomatoes; not quite ripe, chopped
    • 1 lb. organic chicken breast
    • 1 lb. rapini”

    –Look, it even uses tomatoes!

    You’re just too much! Love ya!

    BTW, this is not a general condemnation of your site or “progressives” in general, who can be very fine people.

    And to J. Stracke: You’re right, you just criticized sports fans in general by implying the major need for tomatoes they’d have would be for throwing.

  • Henrik

    Mondo,

    You’ve gone over the top here. You’re making claims about people that aren’t based in what’s actually been said. Wish you weren’t prone to this kind of exaggeration. Seems like you’re looking for something to complain about. I don’t see anything outrageous or bigoted in the statement that race cars and little grape tomatoes are not a good conceptual match.

  • random42

    Um, mondo, I just don’t understand your post. Okay, so TLC has a cooking show that an average viewer of the station didn’t even know about. Good on you for doing highly unnecessary research. My point still stands: “What Not to Wear” brand tomatoes- stupid. And you know what? Yes, the major need for non-salsa oriented tomatoes at a sporting event would be for throwing. The same for concerts, plays, and any other form of entertainment, because most people do not use the seventh inning stretch to toss a salad.

    Gah, I don’t know why I even bother arguing this stuff anymore. I get called irrational?

  • I haven’t been posting here, just reading as people project broad political commentary onto the tiny surface of… grape tomatoes.

    They’re grape tomatoes, people! Sometimes there is no broader significance! Sometimes a grape tomato is just a grape tomato, and not part of a grand plot. Unless it’s a grand plot of grape tomato vines.

    Where the heck did grape tomatoes come from, anyway? Does anyone know? Did someone, five years ago, do some clever marketing of
    weird tomatoes that just didn’t grow big enough? 0r was the whole effort purposeful?

  • mondopercipient

    Henrik,
    Stick to commenting on the facts,not a smokescreen to ignore reality. The other posters didn’t even read the posts, obviously, because they didn’t even know who to attribute the comments too. You’re in the same boat with them. You obviously have not read the comments here at all completely, or it would be obvious to you that I don’t make any claims that I can’t back up.

    Let’s divorce marketing for moment, since none of you commentors obviously understand it well by your statements.

    My point about the original author’s comments are clear:
    He does not associate NASCAR(in his/her mind) with eating in, nutrition, salads, or vegetables. He contrasts that with his association of NASCAR with beer, oil, exhaust, and squished things on dirty roads.

    These two lists that he presented are clearly intended to show that he believes NASCAR is associated with (in his mind) with things that have negative implications. I suppose beer could go either way, depending on your point of view, but if you think “squished things on dirty roads” is a nice image, please explain how. In the list of things he thinks are incongruous with NASCAR, he lists things such as “eating in” which implies (please don’t deny this) that NASCAR fans are more likely to get a take-out bucket of fried chicken that to dine in, or God-forbid, eat a salad or vegetable.

    This is not just a marketing discourse, it is a window into the author’s views of NASCAR fans. I note that it is prejudice and bigotry on his part, which is an opinion based on his word association. He certainly by his association lets his bigoted opinion of NASCAR fans show through, and I’m not surprised he doesn’t own up honestly to those prejudices; I’ll say again that bigoted people rarely recognize it in themselves.

    As to random: You made the TLC point. I spent about 30 second on google and pulled out three quotes which seem to disprove your point. Not much effort on my part, but more than you obviously did before you spoke. And yet you criticize me.

    As to the marketing aspects of this post, which I have not spoken on yet, and most of you don’t seem to grasp. Branding products today isn’t really about what you seem to think so. Here’s some very obvious examples. Tiger Woods advertises for Buick. Does he drive a car on the golf course? No, of course not. So what does a car have to do with his famous profession? Answer: nothing. It’s all about positive association with the “image” of Tiger Woods.

    Since it looks like most of you commenting here are not NASCAR fans, I’ll inform you that today’s world of auto racing is just like most other sports: it’s about celebrities and the association with their “interesting” lives. Do you see football players advertising more than artificial turf, shoulder pads, and footballs?

    Of course, you see them advertising everything under the sun.

    If you’re not interested in NASCAR, fine. But to those that are, seeing Jeff Gordon on a label of a product (even if it’s not a muffler) increases positive association with a buyer who likes NASCAR. I have an NFL coffee cup too, and I’ve never seen them take a coffee break during a huddle.

    It’s so simple.

  • Mother Davis

    Oh, Mondo, I agree with Henrik. You seem to have a chip on your shoulder and look to be itching for a fight. You’re the one that has openly ascribed a negative quality to the things associated with NASCAR. J. Clifford never did that. It seems that you have an inferiority complex – that’s your issue to deal with, not ours.

    You’re really blowing things out of proportion in your stretched interpretation. Take, for instance, your idea that J. Cliffford obviously meant to imply that NASCAR fans are inferior wretches who eat buckets of fried chicken. You derive this accusation only from the fact that J. Clifford mentioned that packages of grape tomatoes, when bought at the grocery store, are associated with dining in.

    Breathe deeply, now, and think about this for a second. There’s nothing about take-out food. Nothing about buckets of fried chicken. A person could just as well dine out at a four star restaurant when not dining in.

    Your reaction to our articles here at Irregular Times is like a ink blot psychological test. Your strange interpretations say more about your own troubles than they do about the content of the articles themselves. When you have to argue that you just know about the secret unwritten meanings of our articles in order to criticize us, you’re getting into the area of conspiracy theorists.

    Read a secret meaning into what I just wrote, if you like, but I think it’s all very straight forward.

  • mondopercipient

    I love your ad hominem arguments and how you are distorting reality. Your perception of my having a chip on my shoulder, or an “inferiority complex” is really amusing when you start talking about conspiracy theories, and “secrect unwritten meanings”. That kind of talk is pure nonsense.

    When you say the author “…mentioned that packages of grape tomatoes, when bought at the grocery store, are associated with dining in.” That’s not what he said, you’re doing your own interpretation.

    What he really said was,
    “Here’s what I think of when presented with the Nascar brand name:
    -Motor oil
    -Squished things on dirty roads
    -Exhaust
    -Beer
    Here’s what I don’t think of when presented with the Nascar brand name:
    -Vegetables
    -Salads
    -Delicate perishable goods
    -Nutrition
    -Eating in ”

    I asked in the previous note, and I ask again, explain how “Squished things on dirty roads” is not somehow a negative association with NASCAR?
    What would you like to tell me is positive about “squished things on dirty roads”? Sounds nice to me.
    Do you want to rationalize that this is somehow a good assoication with NASCAR? I invite you to please do so and please stop trying to cover up for other people while personally insulting me as well. It doesn’t speak well for you.

    When you accuse me of stating the author “obviously meant to imply”, you are quite wrong, and this shows you did not read correctly, as did the other two person who somehow think I am “meghan”.

    I actually stated that this showed what is really in his mind when he thinks of NASCAR fans, and what he doesn’t. Please continue to play with his true meaning all you want to. But if you wish to imply that by stating he didn’t think NASCAR fans would “eat in” he really meant, to use your words, that they were possibly dining out at four star restaurants, your own delusions should be looked at before you start throwing stones at others.

    And if you could reconcile what you said, “Your reaction to our articles here at Irregular Times..” with my actual statement, which was, “…this is not a general condemnation of your site…”

    How you can attempt to twist that very plain statement into your secret meaning is too far out to believe.

    With Love,
    -M

  • Kerik

    Mondopercipient, just take a look at the original article to see how far into the deep end you’ve gone. You’re accusing people of waging some kind of bigoted, outrageous war against Nascar fans, and nothing of the sort is going on.

    I think that the mention of “squished things on dirty roads” refers to the concept of what would actually happen to a grape tomato in the middle of a Nascar event. Get it? Little grape tomato on the race track = squished.

    That’s not a negative attack against Nascar race tracks. They’re not SUPPOSED to be kept sparkling clean. Nascar drivers aren’t SUPPOSED to worry about whether there are delicate vegetables for them to deal with.

    The point is clear: The two ideas of Nascar and grape tomatoes are NOT compatible, in terms of a marketing message. That’s it.

    Mother Davis is right. You have chosen to regard this article as having an extremely negative attitude about Nascar, when it’s really an examination of promotional strategy.

    You might as well argue that Irregular Times is engaged in a bigoted attack against tomato eaters for implying in some underhanded kind of way that they’re not worthy of attending Nascar events, or that they’re thin-skinned, or perishable, or something.

    Please, get a grip.

  • mike

    Mondo, reference your carefully worded claim that I had equated NASCAR fans with rednecks, actually you’re right! If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and has the same feathers and flat bill as a duck, I’m not going to be a bigot for calling the creature a duck…And, in view of the fact that the overwhelming majority of NASCAR fans fall into the category of “redneck”, I really don’t see what your major bitch is. In case you didn’t already know, I personally make claim to the identity known (sometimes disparagingly) as a “redneck”. I personally enjoy Jeff Foxworthy’s definition of this peculiarly American state of being as “a glorious lack of sophistication”…and he’s right! If you claim to support the working-class in America, then you’d better find out what makes up it’s population, dude, cuz, out here, it’s those rednecks that you think are being dissed…and they’re not. They are PROUD of their identity, they usually take their pleasures in simple things, and they certainly don’t need some politically correct spud like you defending them…they’re perfectly capable of doing that themselves…usually with more physically devastating results than you are accustomed to seeing in your ivory tower. We don’t need your patronisation.

  • One last note: this sort of confused cross-marketing is certainly not limited to NASCAR. This weekend in the grocery store I found myself wondering what Star Wars has to do with Pop-Tarts…

  • mondopercipient

    Mike,

    I don’t what you mean by “carefully worded”.

    I said simply: “Mike: NASCAR fans = rednecks”

    No careful wording there; that’s about as plain as I can make it. Glad you agree that was your intent.

    I love your assumptions:
    I don’t believe I said I support the working-class in America. That might be true, but it wasn’t mentioned by me, nor did it have to do with the point of the post.

    I’m not giving you any patronisation(sic), again I don’t know where you can pull out that from my post. Maybe rednecks have poor reeding compression.

    Just because you are a self-claimed “redneck” does not give you license (and not your hunting license either, as a redneck, I’m sure you already lost your driver’s license) to justify relating all or most NASCAR fans as “rednecks”. Sure I also hear lots of black comedians refer to themselves with the N-word too, but that doesn’t mean it’s not bigoted when used by others. You just don’t get it.

    And to the last John Stracke point: You don’t seem to get it either. What do Star Wars have to do with Pop-Tarts? Again, simple.

    Who eats most Pop-Tarts? Kids.
    When they see a box with Star Wars on it in the grocery, what do they whine to their mommies? And then what do most mommies buy? You figure out the rest.

    Sure marketing guys do make screw-ups. New Coke being one of the most famous examples. But most of the time this is done with lots and lots of demographic research. I think you might want to consider that before you pooh-pooh their concepts.

  • HareTrinity

    [Shrug] Well, I don’t really associate McDonalds with health-food, but they’ve got it now…

    Just seems like some odd attempt to say “hey, look, we’re dignified and healthy after all”.

    Ah, well.

  • mondopercipient

    It’s about offering choices to people to test the market. If they don’t sell it, they’ll pull it.

  • felice

    So I just bought some of these tomatoes from a street vendor, and experienced the same confusion. Glad he hear I’m not alone. On the upside, they’re tasty. Sidenote: these tomatoes have caused more consternation in this thread than it seems they’re worth. Maybe NASCAR’s just trying to improve their associations?

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