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Twitter airs first TV spot, debuts curated hashtag at NASCAR race

Two firsts for Twitter today as the social network becomes more like a media company. First, it aired its first TV spot during today’s Pocono NASCAR race. It shows racer Brad Keselowski snapping a photo from inside his car on an iPhone, then the slogan, “See what he sees,” followed by the web URL: Twitter’s Omid Ashtari, who heads up sports and entertainment, confirmed it was Twitter’s first TV commercial. Here’s the :15 spot:

Several more spots are available on YouTube — including more action-oriented fair — reinforcing the behind-the-scenes aspect of tracking the hashtag while watching the race. The last spot encourages fans to follow their favorite racers “after the finish line.”

Today’s race is Twitter’s first real step into live event curation and part of a larger deal between Twitter and NASCAR we reported in May. Though a combination of people and algorithms, Twitter curated the best tweets and photos from drivers, their families, commentators, celebrities and fans on the hashtag page, which featured a souped-up presentation for the race. Some of those tweets also appeared on air:

The broadcast plugged the hashtag page several times, and Twitter notes that the page was accessible “even if you’re not a current Twitter user.” If you’re one of probably quite a few people who accidentally typed, — without the hashtag — Twitter redirected that URL to the hashtag page.

While the details of the deal were not disclosed, there was a fair amount of promotion from NASCAR and TNT to Twitter, ranging from the TV spot and on-air integration to advertising on For Twitter, it’s great exposure among a not-very-tech-savvy crowd purely in the context of consumption. For NASCAR, it’s an engaging complementary TV experience that leverages Twitter as not only the second screen platform, but as the producer, too.

This brings Twitter even closer to the TV experience, and by extension, the potential for TV dollars, too. Back in May, Twitter and ESPN announced a deal to not only co-produce content around live events, but share in the integrated advertising packages, as well. If Twitter can scale this business, it will go a long ways to helping beef up its revenue picture.

Earlier: MLB All-Star Game to be “most social event in baseball history”

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