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Twitter runs its first TV ad in Nascar race

An ad featuring driver Brad Keselowski runs during the 2012 Pocono 400 Nascar race. Could this be Twitter's attempt at selling that complicated concept: the hashtag?

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You always know when a tech company is becoming modern and sophisticated in its marketing.

It starts doing TV ads.

TV has worked delightfully to put a human face on Google. And now along comes Twitter looking to employ some of that old mass marketing in order to sell, well, let's see.

I am grateful to the gear-headed obsessives at Business Insider, who were clearly glued to their TVs watching the 2012 Pocono 400 Nascar race today. (Perhaps Euro 2012 is too high-falutin' for some people.)

Anyway, during this fine event, there appeared a 15-second miniature on behalf of Twitter.

It featured Nascar driver Brad Keselowski, holding up his little iPhone as if to take a picture.

The ad then encourages you to see what he sees. Before offering the URL

Normally, one only sees straight hashtags on the screen. For example, American Idol's seminal #idol. Here, however, you are led to a Twitter page where so much of Nascar's tweeting in all one place. (Image below.)

It's a rather colorful place, not the usually mundane list of tweets and invective that you find when you wander to a popular hashtag. It has more energy and life.

Some are already speculating (no doubt astutely) that this is Twitter's attempt at exciting marketing folks about Twitter's marvelous commercial opportunities. I'm not sure how many marketing directors are vast Nascar fans, but this will make for a lovely case study when Twitter tries to sell itself on to the next potential client in line.

Twitter's head of sports, Omid Ashtari (wait, Twitter has a head of sports?) blogged earlier this week that this was something of an experiment.

He offered that the intention of the special hashmarked page was to get you inside information from the teams, the drivers and the part-time models, who congregate in the pits and are always taller than the drivers.

Actually, Ashtari might have omitted to mention the ladies.

Still, it's all about Twitter taking you where those boring old TV cameras just can't. And then making a boring old TV spot for the page.

Keselowski has become something of a Twitter favorite. Earlier this year, he tweeted during a race and added 130,000 followers for his trouble.

Keselowski is an interesting character. He has enjoyed a couple of run-ins with fellow driver Carl Edwards. But perhaps his most pulsating public pronouncements have come on the subject of GoDaddy's finest driver, Danica Patrick.

He feels that Patrick has been the beneficiary of too much, well, advertising.

Indeed, last year he offered the following on the subject of Patrick: "[Her] assent [sic] up the ladder of the sport thru various branding 'techniques' (swimsuit ads etc) only serves to undermine the...future credibility of female races [sic] who wish to make it based on skill, mental toughness and a never give up attitude."

Yes, it's a frightfully manipulative thing, advertising.

But where did Keselowski record these stern, anti-advertising views? Why, on Twitter.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET