Ignoring the Obvious

Cheborneck

Come here.

(What?)

What that

(I don’t know)

Look like dog shit to me

(Yah.  Looks like dog shit to me too)

Hmm. Pick it up

(What?)

Pick up

Oh

Feel like dog shit?

(Yah.  Feels like dog shit)

Smell

(Hm?)

Smell

(*sniff* uh)

Smell like dog shit?

(It smell like dog shit)

Taste

(Huh?)

Taste

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.”

What’s changed?

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?”

My God.     

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.’

9 thoughts on “Ignoring the Obvious

  1. Very true commentary. Shit goes to shit.Went to A1A using Granada bridge and driving on the beach was undoable and same trash from Orlando on their Sunday ocean trip.Same garbage beach stores and restaurants.We lasted 10 minutes on A1A and drove to the Grind for some brewskies.Driving up Rt 1 and see the Beaver Bar is trying to look like a real restaurant.Good for them and the Trails shopping Center makeover.

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  2. There was a time that Daytona Beach was “family friendly”. My family moved here when I was 16 after visiting for a couple of years. We would park at a beach approach where my brother and I would meet other kids visiting from out of state. Their family came back every year stayed at same motel for over a week. Later on in life, met snowbirds who came to stay in the winter. The “tourist stores” were busy. As soon as some “events” started, county took over, tolls, I noticed the beach was never the same. Used to be so nice to see the beach from the road. I think the Earl Street area with “cave like appearance” doesn’t look like a family friendly relaxing beach vacation. Broadway as soon as you cross the beautiful bridge looks like the aftermath of a town deserted not like a welcoming vacation town.

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  3. I see such a great opportunity being ignored year after year. That is the Eastern end of Main Street. It is the perfect area for a four blocks or so no driving family as well as just adults entertaining area. If you have been to Savannah’s City Market area then you know what I am suggesting. Take four blocks and close it off to traffic, install pavers and plenty of benches and have local musicians performing free to the public every night. New shops and eateries will open as well as drinking establishments. People can walk to and from the beach with ease adding to the friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Bike Week could also continue but the Main Street cruising would just be four blocks shorter. I just think this would be a tremendous boost for Daytona Beach that would be utilized 12 months a year.

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  4. Stewart is a prime example of a beautiful historic downtown area that is full all year with lots of residents and tourists. It’s clean, extremely well kept and the buildings are full of restaurants, ice cream and candy shops along with many assorted businesses, including a small theater. There are Art shows and festivals regularly. Stewart has done what Beach Street is trying to accomplish with parking. All buildings are historic like ours. They are open all year day and night! The restaurants are on waits and the boutiques, gift shops, jewelry stores and galleries are full.

    New Smyrna Beach is another example of what can be done. Daytona has ample parking which is a bonus. We have the lodging. Sadly, this will never happen here until the buildings are open all year with a variety of businesses that are appealing to couples and families.

    The party image is definitely not family friendly and needs to change for the long term. I am not suggesting Bike week should go but I am suggesting we need family friendly events, not events that reck our town and our reputation.

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  5. This area is hopeless, search the internet and see what Florida has nicknamed this region.
    Where is the task force meeting to be dealing with the recent truck meet?
    The Halifax Advertising Authority Board and the Daytona Beach Convention Bureau should be dissolved. Wasted salaries, “Wide Open Fun”?

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    1. I searched the internet Marc as per your instructions and Daytona isi listed as one of the .most dangerous cities in Florida.Tell that to Derrick Henry the next time he runs for Mayor and Marc give all our new neighbors his real history not the shit printed of his biography on the city of Daytona site.

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  6. Yes, indeed! We have been missing leadership for so long we may not recognize it if/when it is restored! I know Jeff Brower is trying really hard to get things done, but with only cooperation from Heather Post, he can’t get it done! We not only need leadership, but we also require support for the leader in anything that is brought before the CC. Unless we can vote them out, we’ll remain in this stuck position! SMH and it’s so sad because Jeff $ Heather could have gotten it done-you name it-I’ll believe it!!

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  7. Daytona finally gets rid of their to me worthless Mayor. Then maybe it will turn around.If Mayor POOPYWATERS were to listen to the people instead of the Elites things might change. Take for instance, the lack of doing anything about the piss poor infrastructure. If you want new businesses to come to Daytona fix the roads that right there shows more blight than the old buildings. Take a ride down the entire Beach St. Downtown is getting some work but take it South or North and it’s worse than most Georgia roads. Hell the dirt roads out here in Sula are better than N.Beach St ! It’s so bumpy that driving from Fairview to Mason Ave. by the time you make you’ll have to pee. I bet all the ambulance drivers try to avoid driving on it due to knocking supplies off the shelves and destroying the shocks and suspension . If he were to fix the Roads more businesses will show up !

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