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.