Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Flip

At the Coca Cola 600 race ,we had a chance to work with handheld portable HD video camera called The Flip Ultra HD. This camera takes two hours of video and then connects directly to your USB port of your computer to upload video. It is one of the simplest video camera to use.

Video of Jimmy Johnson and Crew Chief Chad Knaus:

We used the camera to capture footage of the race and the press conferences. We also used it as we started a spontaneous marketing campaign for MediaMensch LinktoCharlotte and LinktoMotorsports brands in which people would say "I like LinktoMotorsports" or "I like LinktoCharlotte". We were able to capture Rick Hendrick and NASCAR legend Bobby Allison, plus a few of our LinktoMotorsports members who were in the infield area of the racetrack including one of my founding members.

We also captured video from around the track area and will be editing this for future media. For more information on this camera, you can visit

If you are looking for a great addition to your social media arsenal. This pocket sized camera is a great addition for around $200 retail.

Monday, May 25, 2009

David Reutimann - Coca Cola 600 Winner

Photo: David Reutimann, Winner of the 2009 Coca Cola 500
(photo by: MediaMensch Networks/Andrew Kaplan, all rights reserved)

During a two day, rain soaked, rain delayed race, David Reutimann was the winner of the Coca Cola 600. He stayed out in the rain for hours. Here he is sitting on the ground against his car during the last rain delay.
The Coca Cola 600 was stopped due to rain at the 227 lap and he became the winner. This was his first win in the Sprint Cup.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bobby Allison - I Like LinktoMotorsports

We caught up with NASCAR legend, Bobby Allison at the Coca Cola 600. He is the Grand Marshall for the race.

We are experimenting with ways in which MediaMensch Networks - LinktoMotorsports brand can use technology to capture the race week.

We are using a camera sent to us from which is a HD portable video camera. It fits in your pocket and can store up to two hours of video.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Coca Cola 600 - Red, White and Brands

NASCAR is all about its fans and it is also about about its brands. The sport runs on brands from Office Depot to Coca Cola to M & M's. If you are around Lowes Motor Speedway for the Coca Cola 600, scan around and count the number of brands you see.

The brands are an integral part of the sport. The week between the Sprint All-Star race and the Coca Cola 600 is Food Lion Speed Street. It is estimated that 400,000 fans will descend on Charlotte this weekend to visit the festival featuring a way to meet drivers, sample new products, and interact with the brands.

Even in the media center, the other day, I walked out with a box of Hamburger Helper and Cheerios. As you watch the race, you will see Toyota is now a major part of the sport. Their logo and brand is on the inside walls of the racetrack. Even some of the pace cars are Toyota Hybrids and the trucks that clean the track are Toyota Tundras.

Showing the success of branding this weekend up front is Coca Cola. This is their race weekend. At the track on Friday was a one quarter mile grill serving hot dogs and hamburgers to thousands of fans. They had a large stage with interviews of Coca Cola drivers (they sponsor 14 drivers). Even hall of fame driver, Bobby Allison made an appearance.

Coca Cola in the past would bring in the American Idols to perform this week at Speed Street or at the race. This year they decided to bring in the winner of Dancing with the Stars. Well, sometimes brands hit home runs or in this case they won "Gold". Olympic Gymnast, Shawn Johnson. will be swept up into the world of racing and NASCAR as the Honorary Marshall of the Coca Cola 600. This is about as All-American as you can be.

The 50th running of the Coca Cola 600 will be all about the Red White and Blue on Memorial day weekend, plus the Red and White Brands of Coca Cola, Office Depot and Toyota. Tune in at 5 pm EDT on Fox TV on Sunday, May 24th.. Before they say "Racers start your engines", let's say, "Viewers Watch Your Brands".

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Burnouts, Speed and Ingenuity

Speed Channel's PASSTIME show taped 10 episodes over two days at the Zmax Dragway in Concord, NC. It is a show in which vehicles from Motorcyles, SUV's to Volkswagens are entered. There were 2 celebrity contestants go against the "house" Ken Herring. They have to guess the times of the vehicles based upon the descriptions of work done to these cars. Then the cars power down a 1/4 mile dragstrip.

Celebrity NASCAR drivers and crew chiefs, made up most of the contestants. Some of the most interesting cars included a corn-fed ethanol vehicle to two super motorcycle racers who were fearless going down the track accelerating to over 100+ mph. What you take away from the show is how much different each vehicle was from each other and the appreciation of the amount of time the owners took to develop these as the morphed into racing vehicles.

I had a chance to meet the host of the show Brett Wagner and speak to the producer, Ray Eddings. These episodes are expected to air starting on Speed channel in July.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Coach Kaplan Tip - Using Twitter Search to Build Your Contacts

As a social media advisor, I am asked all the time about twitter, its value and its return on the investment in time. Where Twitter may excel is to connect you with a knowledge economy or engage you in conversation.

Many of you have set out to twitter and have collected followers. As your list grows some of the twitter conversation may be of interest (could be about today's news, weather, traffic, sports, philosophy, etc). The question occurs on how to expand the conversation and or how to find experts or media sources that are you there.

One way to do this simply with or without a twitter account set up is to go to

At the screen you can type in key words to search for. You can also use what is called a hashtag or a # sign. If you want to see who is discussing gardening, you can type in #gardening. Want to find others in your home town, type in the name of your city. Try it with or without the hashtag. What this will do is help you find those of similar interest to you. Once you have a twitter account set up (it takes less than 5 minutes). You can then follow and engage in conversation with these people who may be experts to media outlets to others around the world.
To connect with MediaMensch on Twitter: (journey through media) (social media tips and tricks) (Charlotte Community Events)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tony Stewart Wins Sprint All Star Race

Winner Tony Stewart and his teammates in victory lane at the 2009 Sprint All Star Race Tony Stewart took the lead with only 2 laps to go in the race. He held on against Ryan Newman. This was the first and special win for his new team at Stewart-Haas racing. Tony Stewart brought home a $1 million dollar check. Tony Stewart said "No check that you can write can take the place of winning for my teammates. For many this is the first time they had ever experienced winning." There were lots of tears of joy and pats on the back. Stewart placed a lot of the success tonight on his crew chief Darian Grubb who he said made some very complex adjustments to the car just before the final 10 laps. He also credited Grubb with building a great team at Stewart-Haas racing.

(photo property of Andrew Kaplan/MediaMensch Networks)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sprint All-Star Driver pictures from Garage Area

Dale Earnhardt, Jr (top), Carl Edwards (middle), Tony Stewart (bottom) talking to the media on Friday before the Sprint Millon Dollar All-Star Challenge at Lowes Motor Speedway.

(Photos property of Media Mensch Networks/Andrew Kaplan, LinktoMotorsports, LinktoCharlotte) All Rights Reserved.

Sprint All Star Race and Media Celebrities

NASCAR is building up to the Coca Cola 600 on memorial day weekend, with its Sprint All-Star Race for a million dollars. The top drivers will compete in a final segment which will have only 10 laps for this million dollar prize. Driver Kasey Kahne compared it to driving the way they did when he first started racing as a youth.

The All-Star race is special this year as it is in its 25th running. Celebrities such as Kevin Costner and America's Most Wanted John Walsh are here to participate. Country Duo Montgomery Gentry will be the featured artists at the race.

This is one of the most fun days for NASCAR drivers. Many of the drivers live and work near Lowes Motor Speedway in Concord, NC and have a chance to drive in front of family and friends.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Billboard Indie Artist Nicola Recommends Media Mensch

"Andrew Kaplan, founder of MediaMensch Networks, is an absolute whiz at online marketing, promoting and networking in virtually all areas, subjects and realms. He regularly features a host of emerging as well as well-known talents and personalities on his show "Media Mensch". As an independent artist, I was lucky enough to have him randomly stumble across my music online whereupon he subsequently invited me to do an extensive interview and feature on his show. The networking it provided me were invaluable and it yielded many more new fans and hits to my sites and ultimately my music. His spirit of cross-promotion and internet business savvy is like no other." - Nicola - NYC-Billboard Indie Artist -

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Kasey Kahne - 50th Anniversary of the Coca Cola 600

Kasey Kahne, and Bruton Smith, Lowes Motor Speedway unveiled the new trophy for the Coca Cola 600.

The Coca Cola 600 is going to be one of the top events of the year in motorsports.

Coca Cola, Speedway Motorsports and NASCAR - Fan Friendly

In these economic times, companies such as Coca Cola, Speedway Motorsports and NASCAR are teaming up more than ever to focus on their core customer, the dedicated race fan. (Top photo of Driver Jeff Burton and Coca Cola Executive)

Over the past few months, Lowes Motor Speedway, the site of the 50th Anniversary of the Coca Cola 600 and the annual million dollar Sprint All Star Race have continued to make fan friendly announcements

Here are some of the things that are being offered to the fans. Some lucky fans are invited to watch the press conferences with the media. For fans attending the race this year Coca Cola unveiled a BBQ event where they are building a 1/4 mile grill in the shape of an oval and inviting any fans with tickets to come to a free BBQ on the friday before the race weekend. Celebrity Chef, Tyler Florence, will be there leading 100 chefs. Imagine inviting 100,000+ people to a BBQ..hats off to Coca Cola and LMS. (Bottom Photo of NASCAR champion driver Jeff Burton serving up hot dog to MediaMensch executive, Andrew Kaplan)

Another change around the economy was Lowes Motor Speedway's creation of a 99 cent value menu. The idea is to make it affordable for the race fans who travel from long distances to still be able to afford the race. This is a critical time for NASCAR and racing. The message is clear and coming down from the leadership of the sport.

So in these economic times, remember who is your customer, who is loyal to you. Loyalty will be the one thing you can count on. It works both ways and the fans can see and feel it. So, Race fans "Start your engines" and head to Charlotte and Lowes MotorSpeedway for the Coca Cola 600 BBQ.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Social Networking Strategies - Your Authentic Self

Today, I was coaching a new client who was looking at ways to use social media for a job search and also to be able to more clearly understand how a public relations professional and writer might be able to harness these tools for themselves and their clients. As we went through our initial session on thing started to become very clear, the more you are true to your authentic self (not your job description, parenting role, etc) but to those things you are most passionate about, the more that social media will help you attract the people who ultimately will be the network to help you find a job in an area you are most passionate about.

My client had built a personal network in another state and had moved here with her husband's career move. We discussed how she could use social networking to not only reconnect with her former "in-person" network but also to attract people who had strong interests for her area of expertise --- in this case, public relations for politicians. As we moved through the coaching session, we also discovered her love for books and writing. I asked, if she has been asked to "recommend books" to her friend and she told me she actually formed and leads a book club. My response was that you could use Twitter and Facebook to influence and attract others who may be interested in the books and subjects you like.

One other thing she mentioned was she wanted to write a book about her mother. We discussed posting from time to time the life lessons her mother taught her. Again this is a way to attract those who may align with you emotionally or spiritually.

Last on the sports front, she was enamored with college football and especially one of the top teams in the nation. (Her son graduated from there) recently. I told her to post and tweet about the team and she would attract other fans and again extend her network with others passionate about the subject.

So at the end of the day if you post, tweet and provide others with information you are passionate and knowledgeable about it will open doors to a new network. In this new network of friends it may lead you to a new opportunity which in many cases was previously hidden from view.

Being authentic to yourself and your passions in social networking can lead to great success in connecting and in your life goals and visions.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My Journey in NASCAR

This is a story of exploration and re-invention...for those of you who are seeking a new path in your life journey..this is an example of how small steps and a long term vision can mean success. This story is about enjoying the journey.

A couple of years ago, a client and friend, Sean Owens, moved from the Charlotte Knights AAA baseball team over to head up a new area of group sales at Lowes Motor Speedway. He came into the position with with a small team and limited budget. His group decided to have a booth down at the big party that happens the week of the All Star Race and the Coca Cola 600 called "Speed Street". The main issue for him at the time, was that he needed to be at the track at night for the races and needed someone who could manage the booth at Speed Street at night. I told him it would be a great opportunity for me to learn from a "grassroots" level about marketing and NASCAR., so for a few late afternoons into the evening I ran their booth where they were giving away free tickets to the Fall race. I met hundreds of race fans from around the country and saw first hand how loyal they were to the sport. Many made this as their annual Memorial day trek.
With my marketing "eyes" I also had a chance to meet and hang out with some of the workers from sports marketing companies and large NASCAR "brands".

When the fall races came along, there was no Speed Street so Sean recommended that I be a concierge at the Suite level. This again gave me a view of the sport working as the person who was in charge of making sure about 8 to 10 corporate suites were set up properly and people were taken care of . I had the opportunity to work with suites from 3M, Bank of America, Carquest, Rusty Wallace Family, and a few others. I worked on Pole Night, the Busch Races, the All Star Race and the Coca Cola. They were long days, but invaluable in terms of seeing a different type of fan and business experience. I also had the opportunity to talk to the branding and marketing executives at many of these companies. One of other experience was meeting the Australian contingent and tv crew who came last year to cheer on their fellow countryman and NASCAR driver, Marcus Ambrose.

The next year for the races, Sean was put in charge of the corporate dining club at Lowes Motors Speedway, called "The Speedway Club". The Speedway Club members were people who came to Lowes on a regular basis. There was also a group of fans who purchased ticket packages which included dinner at the club plus "Pit Tours". There was an RV just outside the track for the Speedway club members to put their coolers, coats, etc. and part of my job was to just check them in and out "a glorified coatchecker". Again a different fan experience was seen. I had a chance to go out on the Pit Tours and walk around to see how the cars were inspected and to see how the Pit Crews were preparing for the race.

Last fall, I had been blogging on MediaMensch for over a year and asked if I could be put on the media list. I got accepted and soon started to go to some of the preliminary press conferences and local events leading up to the race. The new $80-zMax Dragway was also being build and opened at that time, so I had a chance to learn not only about NASCAR, but about NHRA drag racing. When the fall, Bank of America races came around, I was accepted for media credentials and had a chance to be part of the media which included national media such as ESPN, Fox Sports, XM radio and Sports Illustrated. It was a large learning curve to see how all the film crews went out to shoot segments, how the ESPN group updated their website content during the race including video clips.

Now that it is really the 3rd year around NASCAR, this year I see opportunities as a blogger and social media advisor to really participate more fully. The sport has really grown on me with the combination of marketing, technology, automotive, and entertainment. One thing I have seen at Lowes Motor Speedway is that the management team is dedicated to make this the most "fan-friendly" major league sport. The Speedway Motorsports team really puts on a first class event for the 200,000 fans who come from all over the world to watch the race.

I will have an eye open this year to see which teams and drivers and sponsors use Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools to promote their brands.