(I don’t know)
Look like dog shit to me
(Yah. Looks like dog shit to me too)
Hmm. Pick it up
Feel like dog shit?
(Yah. Feels like dog shit)
Smell like dog shit?
(It smell like dog shit)
Taste like dog shit?
(Yah. Tastes like dog shit)
Hmm. Good thing we don’t step in it. . .
–Cheech & Chong, Los Cochinos, 1973
The ability to form logical inferences from the characteristics of an object or situation is what separates human beings from beasts.
While most animal behaviors are instinctual – much of human behavior is learned – experiences and ideas passed down from generation to generation, our minds capable of abstract analysis, problem solving, imagination, powers of invention, and the ability to express ourselves through complex narratives.
For instance, most of us can readily identify an unknown by the sum of its parts using the simple Duck Test:
If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.
It is this ability to presume and interpret from our retained experiences that allows us to determine what is normal and what is not – and when viewed through the prism of our conscience and value system – reasoning informs our moral judgment and allows us to differentiate right from wrong, that which is positive from those things we have learned can cause us harm.
In other words, unless you are a member of the Halifax Area Advertising Authority – most of us do not require a highly paid consultant to point out those steaming piles of dog crap experience tells us to avoid. . .
Last week, the HAAA board decided that after decades of blight, neglect, and fast-buck events, now is the time to begin rehabilitating the Daytona Beach Resort Areas abysmal reputation as an anything goes party town, “elevate our customer base,” and “redefine” our image in Florida’s hyper-competitive tourism market.
To accomplish that, our leaders in the hospitality industry feel the need to have an out-of-town expert tell them that abominations like truck meets and pop-up viral shitshows, events marked by gridlocked traffic, public urination, and drunken debauchery – a shock to the conscience that terrorize area residents, frighten trapped visitors, and destroy “the brand” – do nothing to promote quality tourism.
I guess the eyewitness account of Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young, his agency’s overtime bill, the horror stories told by local business owners, the fervent pleas of locals that the marketing slogan Wide. Open. Fun. sent the wrong message, and the abject disgust exhibited by guests who pledge never to return as they flee beachside hotels are not convincing – so, the search is on for another ‘consultant’ to conduct yet another study to tell ostensibly smart people what they should already know.
Why ignore the obvious?
After decades of more of the same – our ‘powers that be’ in the convention and tourism industry still have their heads in the sand – hoping against hope that variations on the same outrageous marketing tactics will somehow result in a different outcome.
For instance, in February 2020, the HAAA previewed a calamitous “new” advertising campaign by our out-of-town marketing shills dubbed – “Think You Know Daytona Beach?” – to replace the equally disastrous “Wide. Open. Fun.” debacle.
A strategy that continues to play on all the double-entendres and worst perceptions potential visitors have come to associate with the Fun Coast: “Endless Parties,” “Kids Getting Wild,” “Hitting the Clubs,” “Going Topless,” “All Day Beach Bashes,” and “Just a bunch of kids making pour decisions.”
This from the same agency who last year explained “We (Daytona Beach) have a perception issue and it’s a big one…”
Tragically, as of June, the ad is currently running in a virtual test market on social media under the tag “What do you think of our latest video for Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau?”
Well, if you really want to know – I think it sucks.
I think it sends a conflicting message.
I think it perpetuates all the worst stereotypes one associates with our unofficial slogan, “The Dirty.”
But who cares what I think?
Why don’t we listen to the experts?
A decade ago, the Volusia County Council commissioned a comprehensive analysis of area tourism marketing by a Georgia-based consultancy which concluded the condition of our beachside “tourism product” was a serious impediment to attracting visitors and economic development.
More ominously, the $100,000 study found, “…there is no “plan” for who is leading the effort and how these challenges can be improved.”
Still not convinced?
In 2018, following The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s scathing exposé on the condition of our core tourist area, the Volusia County Council formed the Beachside Redevelopment Committee chaired by former Brown & Brown executive Tony Grippa – a Blue Ribbon think tank comprised of our best and brightest minds – the crème de la crème of our social, civic, business, and political elite – who, after months of deliberation, came up with the simple suggestion:
“Expand the opportunities to make the beach a year-round destination for all visitors.”
Among the panel’s wholly ignored recommendations was improving “…the perception of the entire region, with a focus on a variety of residential, recreational, cultural and entertainment opportunities in the area.”
So, how many more costly studies are required?
As I said in the aftermath of Truck Meet 2021:
“If we have repeatedly been warned by numerous high-priced marketing gurus – expensive out-of-town “experts” with a nice suit and briefcase – that the Daytona Beach Resort Area is widely perceived as a down-at-the-heels, anything goes, trash strewn honky tonk, then why are stalwarts like Daytona International Speedway and the Convention & Visitors Bureau (the event was listed on their website) still tacitly promoting these horribly corrosive three-day/two-night beer-soaked debauches that advance the very image everyone tells us must change if we want to survive as a tourist destination?”
Studies and political insulation committees are as ubiquitous in Volusia County as grains of sand on the beach – each saying the same thing – yet, time-and-again, there seems to be something lacking between the recommendation and implementation.
I think that missing link is called ‘leadership.’