Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Coffee at the Track (a.k.a. Bud Light in the Bleachers)

Daytona Beach, FL -- 2/17/08.

I miss football. I'm sure you do to, but after spending a week in the heart of NASCAR Nation, I'm ready to return to the field and get away from the fumes.

The reason for my trip to the 50th Anniversary of The Great American Race was to once again promote safety at railroad crossings for my client, CSX Transportation. CSX brought me to Talladega last April and returned to the track last week along with our spokesman, Bobby Allison.

For those of you who are not familiar with the famous racing family, Bobby Allison is one of the all-time great drivers and won at Daytona 3 times. This year marked two anniversaries for Allison - the 30th anniversary of his 1st Daytona 500 win ('78) and the 20th anniversary of his 1-2 finish with his son, Davey ('88). The timing of our promotion worked out perfectly as news stations across the country were eager to talk to Bobby about his past, the present state of NASCAR, and of course, the message he was trying to impart on behalf of CSX and the Keep on Living campaign. We were up at the crack of dawn last Wednesday to begin a barage of interviews with Allison with news anchors across the country. My personal favorite (big surprise) was his conversation with Jay Crawford on ESPN's First Take:

After more than 25 interviews and a press conference later in the afternoon, Exit10 was ready to reach out to the fans of NASCAR at our promotional tent located between Chevy and Crocs (unfortunately we did not walk away with a free car or even a free pair of sandals). Four days later, we had handed out tens of thousands of promotional items promoting Keep on Living, with the biggest draw (other than Bobby Allison autographs) being our bright orange floppy hats.

Normally you would think a fluorescent orange hat would be frowned upon in public, but in the sea of logos making their way around the display area, they fit right in. It still amazes me that millions of fans flaunt corporate marks as if they were the Ravens or Redskins logos. Home Depot, Lowe's and the new kid on the block, Amp Energy Drink, dominate the wardrobes of fans and followers. And after four long days of fun in the sun, and not a whole lot of fun in the bleachers (even in person, the cars just go around in circles for 3 hours) I was ready to leave car-country and return to RavensNation. It's good to be home and back to the grind, er, gridiron. The NFL Combine starts tomorrow.

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