Fox Sports Goes Full Throttle to Drive Viewers to ‘Daytona Day’

If the Daytona 500 is a big event in your home, Fox Sports’s upcoming marketing of the big NASCAR race on Sunday, Feb. 21, could really rev your engines.

If you don’t already celebrate “Daytona Day,” Fox Sports executive vice president of marketing Robert Gottlieb hopes the campaign will start you up and head you in that direction.

Fox was slated to air a “Happy Daytona Day” 60-second ad during this past Sunday’s NFC Championship game, showing people across America enjoying their Daytona Day rituals and parties, Gottlieb said. Directed by Joseph Kahn, known for his Taylor Swift videos, it’s a centerpiece of pre- Daytona 500 marketing that is the biggest Fox has done since it first aired the race in 2001. [UPDATE: view the "Happy Daytona Day" 60-second promo video here.]

Recently retired four-time NASCAR champion driver Jeff Gordon is the other big component of the campaign, as he’s joining Fox’s booth this year. Fox produced a spot in Los Angeles in which Gordon’s car is being chased by L.A.’s Finest — but with a happier ending than many helicopter-filmed freeway pursuits. It’s slated to air on Feb. 11, Gottlieb said. [UPDATE: view the Jeff Gordon freeway chase ad at this link.]

Sunday’s game also was slated to include a promo in which Gordon and Fox NFL Sunday co-host Michael Strahan talk about how Strahan celebrates Daytona Day, Gottlieb said. Later this month, a The Simpsons spot will also promote the race.

Daytona is a bellwether for the entire NASCAR season and “the Super Bowl of the sport,” the marketer told The Wire, so it seemed apropos to position Daytona Day as a time for festive get-togethers, not unlike the Kentucky Derby or the Super Bowl (which airs Feb. 7 on CBS).

— Kent Gibbons

C-SPAN Offers Food for Thoughtful Coverage

C-SPAN gets style points for its latest campaign coverage promo goodies.

Last August, the public-affairs programmer sent out a mug, luggage tag and pen to national political reporters and 175 key cable-affiliate contacts to promote its “Campaign 2016: Road to the White House” coverage of candidates, by which it generally means letting them speak for themselves rather than pontificating over every word (but we digress).

Last week, as the primary and caucus season began to heat up, C-SPAN upped its game and aimed at the heart, er, stomach, of its key journalistic constituency.

Boxes of “campaign trail” mix and big cookies iced with maps of each of the four primary/caucus cities were sent to 55 key political media folks. The Wire would identify them, as well as 66 cable affiliates (Mediacom Communications, Comcast, Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications) in key early primary or caucus states, but we’d have to wipe a bit of crumb from the Iowa map off our mustache.

“We tried to have a little fun” with the food, Marty Dominguez, C-SPAN’s vice president of marketing, told The Wire. “As C-SPAN’s Campaign 2016 coverage kicks into high gear in the first primary and caucus states, we wanted to give our media and cable friends a reminder about C-SPAN’s on-of-a-kind media coverage of the candidates along the campaign trail.”

— John Eggerton

And the Winner Isn’t! FCC Loses the ‘Luddite’

We’re not sure anyone was popping champagne at Federal Communications Commission headquarters, but the agency’s decision to reclassify Internet access as a Title II common-carrier service did not win the Internet Technology and Innovation Foundation’s annual Luddite award.

The award is named after Englishman Ned Ludd, “who led a movement in the early 19th century to destroy mechanized looms. [T]oday’s neo-Luddites likewise want to foil technological progress,” ITIF said.

The general public picked the winner.

The just-announced dubious honor, which goes to “the year’s worst anti-technology ideas and policies in action,” went to “alarmist” talk from folks like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates that artificial intelligence could “spell doom for humanity,” ITIF said.

The FCC had been nominated, according to ITIF, because, “in an effort to freeze network innovation, the [FCC], at the urging of a wide range of neo-Luddite organizations, enacted regulations to protect ‘net neutrality,’ a rather nebulous concept, generally standing for the principle that broadband networks should treat all data packets alike, even if they have different network needs. This will significantly constrain network innovation.”

That misstep, in the ITIF’s view, was ultimately trumped by warnings from Musk, Hawking and Gates that “in the not-so-distant future, humans could lose control of artificial intelligence (AI), thus creating an existential threat.”

Those optics work out better for one of ITIF’s honorary board members, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Communications Subcommittee and a big proponent of the Title II-based rules.

ISPs would argue, and have argued, that Title II reclassification is a threat to the continued investment in broadband.

— John Eggerton

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.