Like a lot of you, I’m a racing fan. I’m not really into NASCAR, but I do watch it if nothing else is on. Recently, NASCAR, showing their ever-present good taste, decided to come up with a mascot for its ground mounted track cameras. Yeah, that’s what was really needed, a frinking mascot for an unmanned camera position.
It gets even worse, but at least I know that I’m not alone in my loathing for this anthropomorphized vermin that goes by the name of Digger.
Digger is, I guess, a gopher. And the deal started like this:
NASCAR or Fox TV has installed a whole bunch of ground level cameras at various stock car tracks. They give you a real cool view, not all that dissimilar to that from a machine gun nest, looking UP at the cars from ground level. Really nice shot, and can be quite informative on occasion.
But then they decided to get cute. For some reason, I seem to recall Darrel Waltrip saying something along the lines of “We need a name for that!” sometime a while ago. It’s easy to blame Waltrip, an OK driver who just can’t seem to keep his mouth shut, nor to regulate what comes out of it (you can blame him for the phrase “Boogity-boogity-boogity!!” and I do. And when the revolution ever comes, Darrel Waltrip should be worried), but NASCAR took the idea and just flat out ran with it.
One day my wife wandered by just as they went to the Digger cam, complete with the now ubiquitous Digger animation. See, they just can’t take to the shot, oh no. Now they have to go to the ground level shot, and over-lay a particularly heinous animation of Digger, burrowing, and acting all cute. And it’s not just one set animation piece, they seem to rotate through 4 or 6 different versions.
“What the hell is that?” asked my wife.
“Why that thar’s DIGGER!” I said in a redneck accent. “He’s the brand new mascot just for that that new camera NASCAR uses!”
“Oh god … ”
“You just wait. I predict it will get worse. Pretty soon I bet NASCAR will start to leverage the hell out of Digger. Pretty soon you’ll be able to buy Digger hats and tee shirts and all sorts of merchandise. Why, I might even get you a Digger hat as an anniversary present.”
“No you won’t”
She’s right I won’t …. but I was also right, because not more than 4 weeks ago I saw on some race coverage, right after they went to Digger-Cam ™, a product placement for a whole slew of Digger related merchandise; hats, tee shirts, mugs, baby bibs, as much crap as NASCAR could think of (and NASCAR can think of a LOT of crap to merchandise).
Another sign of the apocalypse, and I’m not alone.
FullThrottle, a racing website, recently featured the headline” Digger is Universally Hated.” Praise God, it’s not just me. FullThrottle says that digger ” … has collected more hate \”mail,\” and probably a few smashed TV screens, than a butt load of Kyle Busch haters,” which is a lot.
I know, we have to rely on the “taste” and “restraint” of the folks in the NASCAR marketing department, but please, for the love of all that is Holy and Right: Kill digger.