Daytona Day is back, and that’s not a good thing

Last year, FOX Sports’ “Daytona Day” promotion was widely ridiculed among NASCAR fans. The minute-long ad with an accompanying jingle showed young people partying and celebrating, but had virtually zero race action.

It didn’t get people to watch; the race was the second-lowest rated 500 ever.

But instead of scrapping the concept altogether, FOX decided to revive Daytona Day for this season. The 2017 version has the same silly song, although the commercial — which premiered during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Super Bowl — shows more race car drivers and racing this time.

Not to be a Daytona Day party pooper — since the gatherings in the ads look like a fun time — but this is a flawed concept.

Someone got a lot of money to sit in a marketing agency and think of what cool, hip thing they could do to advertise the Daytona 500 and get the “casuals” to tune in.

I just don’t see how this does it.

Non-race fans, by nature, don’t understand racing. I have friends who honestly think the Indy 500 is the same as NASCAR, and they’re not going to know the Daytona 500 is coming up.

This whole campaign does very little to inform people there’s an actual race coming up and the NASCAR season is starting. The hashtag is #DaytonaDay (not #Daytona500) and aside from the very last second of the ad, there’s nothing that screams “HI, THIS DAYTONA THING WE ARE REFERRING TO IS ACTUALLY TO THE DAYTONA 500, WHICH YOU CAN WATCH FEB. 26 ON THIS VERY CHANNEL.”

In fact, the ad might even confuse people. Halfway through the commercial, there’s a scene with actor James Van Der Beek which references “DAYTONA DAY: The movie.” I would bet you real money there were people watching the ad who went, “What is this Daytona Day thing? Ohhhh, it’s a movie! I get it!”

You might think, “Oh come on, people aren’t that stupid. Everyone knows this is a Daytona 500 ad.”


Anyway, it’s amazing how often advertisers seem to outthink themselves in situations like this. I want to shake them and say: “If you want people to watch the Daytona 500, advertise the Daytona 500! Say ‘Daytona 500’ as many times as you can in your commercial, and make the hashtag #Feb26Daytona500 or something — not #DaytonaDay.”

If there’s evidence out there this kind of promotion draws in casual fans better than a more traditional campaign, I’d be happy to admit I’m wrong. But in the meantime, I’m taking a pass on Daytona Day.

By the way, if you got here via Google search because you don’t know what Daytona Day is, they’re talking about the Daytona 500 NASCAR race, which is on Feb. 26.

34 Replies to “Daytona Day is back, and that’s not a good thing”

    1. Boy are you all dumn some people do not. Understand football or basketball or baseball so why wood they understand nascar. I am a nascar fan from the 60s I still do not like basketball or soccer. So go and. Play with your BALLS and I am going tolife and love my Nascar have a nice day. Maddogdavis.

  1. NASCAR needs to remember its about the racing that is important. Doing the DAYTONA DAY promotion again this year shows that they don’t know whats important to race fans.

    1. Not to cut NASCAR a huge break here, but #DaytonaDay is a Fox thing, not necessarily a NASCAR thing.

    2. Hahahahaha. NASCAR forgot long ago what racing is. They even brag about it. “It’s about the show.” the brag. Thus we have rock bands in the infield and high speed parade laps on the track.

  2. Sometimes, NASCAR tries too hard in certain areas. I’d much rather prefer a strong social media campaign accompanied by a an ad that runs both on social media and traditional TV. I love how personalities such as Dave Moody and Mike Bagley do local short track ads. Is the “Sunday, Sunday SUNDAY!” style of ad corny? Yeah, but its traditional racing advertising that works!

  3. I agree with you Jeff. I have had Daytona 500 parties for years because I am so happy to kick off the season. Die hard fans and people who couldn’t care less come over to hang out, have fun, and watch the race with varying levels of attention and interest. At no point in time have I called it a “Daytona Day” party because that’s not what it’s about. I think NASCAR would be wise to realize that.

  4. NASCAR needs to remember that the race is the thing and this will just feed stereotypes of nothing but drinking and tube tops! The action on the track is why we come – or tune in to a race. We follow drivers and teams. We follow the action. I for one don’t go to the races to be with the “.pretty people.” I come for the racing. I really wish that NASCAR would actually listen to fans — talk to real fans.

  5. I think the ad with the Simpsons made a bigger impact on the fact there is a race to be seen on the 26th

  6. If we still had the speed channel race fans & non race fans would know whats going on!! Bring back the speed channel, we miss it!!

  7. Reminds of a sports bar hiring a restaurant mgr to run bar.So they put espn on tvs and think that’s sports! Meanwhile your fav team/sport is on another channel while tv is showing billards championship.How about showing a fan telling a non racing fan about his experience either at the track or watching on tv and showing the exciting finishes,side by side racing,jubilant winning celebrations and saying of can’t be there you can wqtch it here!!!

  8. Couldn’t agree more with your take. I feel like the promotional campaign takes away from the legitimacy of the event as a sporting event in the eyes of non-fans and casual sports fans. The ads need to focus on the competition, the rivalries, and the on-track moments that make the 500 memorable.

  9. The biggest problem is that “Daytona Day” isn’t even a real thing. It doesn’t exist. No one calls it “Daytona Day”. As you said, they would do better promoting it if they advertised it for what it is: This race marks the beginning of the 2017 NASCAR season. This is a race where big crashes may happen, and it’s a race where anyone can win. This is Dale Jr’s big return to NASCAR. The first NASCAR driver headed to the playoffs will be unveiled. There are many ways to promote it. Not sure why anyone would think this mythical “Daytona Day” is a good thing.

  10. Oh god it’s a commercial! I like the commercial and enjoyed it very much…. I’m ready for #DAYTONADAY they promote every other race as a race….. Most people know of Daytona and the Daytona 500 I mean come on its one of the highest rated Nascar races every year…. The casual fan needs to be reached… Trust me people know of the Daytona 500…. There was also a Simpsons commercial… They have been promoting the Daytona 500 for a while now since the last 2 regular season NFL weeks and the playoffs with commercials that had nothing to do with Daytona Day. It’s the Super Bowl….. Nascar know’s what there doing trust me


  11. I honestly thought it made NASCAR look like a joke. I don’t see how it helped draw any new fans. They need to explain its a big deal and the racing is entertaining. Just show the last 10 seconds of last year’s 500.

  12. It’s time to quit playing games and get back to racing. The best car, driver & team on a given day (along with some racing luck) makes an auto race. I think the evolution of drivers to be able garner a fan base has kept true race fans loyal and added more families to enjoy the sport.
    NASCAR wake up or our wonderful race track will be the modern coliseums

  13. Probably another one of DW’s ideas that he will shill for 24/7 just like that stupid rodent/gopher he pushed a few years ago.

  14. Glad to see someone from the media telling it like it is. What I find fascinating is people thinking NASCAR has nothing to do with this. Really? This is precisely what happens when you put people like Steve Phelps, Jill Gregory, David Higdon in charge of marketing and communications at NASCAR. You have people who know nothing about the sport or more importantly why fans watch or used to watch. When you have non racing people making decisions about racing the result is obvious. Yes Fox is desperate for ratings, you would be too if you laid out the cash they and NBC did. And the solution is to bring in Monster Energy to save the sport? Please. King Brian, maybe the most clueless of all, can continue to pat himself on the back as a great marketer. I have news for you, answering the phone in the 1990’s and having a company offer 7 figures to become the official bathroom cleaner of NASCAR is not marketing.

  15. Nailed it. And bet (unlike the almost-as-bad Simpson’s-based FOX commercial for the race broadcast) NASCAR had to cough up the 5 mil or so it took for that monstrosity. 

    Now I live in Indy, and we got the regionally-oriented commercial done for the Indy 500. Hipsters complain it was bland, but honestly, it left NO DOUBT what it was all about. Or the viewer was dumb as a box of rocks. Y’know, sometimes SIMPLE can beat COOL every time.

    And Indy got criticized for not spending the 5 mil. Why? For EITHER race, if you are not within a state or so, plans to attend or not attend are already set in stone. And for the last-minute crowd, you are really after the territory within driving distance of the race. So “cheap and cheerful” would make more sense. But NOOOOO. NASCAR fans just got made to look like idiotic party animals. And yes, there CAN be a worse jingle than “I am INDY”. And sadly NASCAR dragged it out again.

  16. Unfortunately this is FOX’s idea of how to get people to watch … The person who thought it up has probably never seen a race in their lives … And if they have well then Shame on them!

  17. Points points point point points points points. I’d like to say that I am SICK of points. It’s almost like the race doesn’t matter. And I just remembered….. Waltrip will be yapping again. Damn!

  18. They should just advertise that Dale Jr. is getting the big restrictor plate for this year’s Daytona 500. You know it’s coming.

  19. I too thought the commercial sucked, big time.

    Then it occurred to me that the commercial is not aimed at the existing fans. It is trying to appeal to those who are not currently NASCAR fans.

    A commercial, no matter how dreadful is not going to keep existing fans away from the track or the television.

    What we think of the commercials does not matter. Does Daytona Day work on the non-believers? That’s the real question.

  20. MORE evidence of just how “out of touch” NASCAR is with its fans. “Daytona Day” is NOT the best way to showcase NASCAR’s “Superbowl”. I would have created a series of commercials showing the last 30 seconds of great Daytona 500 finishes, starting with the ’79 race. Show the Martin/Harvick finish, Dale Sr’s win, Dale Jarretts 1st win, The first Daytona 500 3-wide-there are so many to choose from.

    It may seem cliche to do, but it would be a way to recognize the long time fans as well as illustrate why we are fans of this race to begin with.

    When do people become race fans? Is it generational from parent to child? Does it happen when you first go “vroom vroom” with some diecasts? With me it was when I tried building a Richard Petty Charger plastic model car as a kid.

    Create fans NASCAR and the audience will come…

  21. I live in Daytona Beach and I thought it was an upcoming movie. Very confusing ad. Maybe I’m just dumb.

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