FanDuel Rolls Out New Campaign Featuring Halftime Quitter Vontae Davis

Written By Grant Lucas on November 20, 2018
Vontae Davis

Ray Lewis fired teammates up with halftime pep talks. Vontae Davis prefers the Irish exit.

You may recall that highly anticipated game between the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Chargers game in Week 2 of the NFL season. No? You chose instead to flip between Billy Mays infomercials and nonsensically named committee meetings on your local public access channel? You and everybody else.

Anyway, in that game, the Bills, at home, trailed 28-6 at the half. Davis left the building. Literally. Retired. Off to go live on a beach in Zihuatanejo.

Now Davis is back. And he’s poised to score more points in his first week playing fantasy football than his former team has all season.

In a Monday announcementFanDuel brought on Davis as the centerpiece for “a multichannel campaign” that “encompasses digital, television, and social, including a new (30-second) television spot.”

And, oh boy, did FanDuel ever buy into Davis’ No.-16-seed-like reputation.

‘Walk away’ and get ‘a fresh start’

Most fantasy football seasons are beginning to wind down. FanDuel, though, has stepped forward to let the DFS world know that not all is lost.

From the release:

“With the football season well past the halfway mark, many season long fantasy players must come to grips with the fact that their dreams of making their fantasy league playoffs and winning it all are over … but they don’t have to stop playing fantasy football.”

And here’s where Davis comes in:

“FanDuel, in tandem with All-Pro cornerback Vontae Davis, is here to let fans know that it’s OK to walk away from their fantasy leagues and they can get a fresh start by playing on FanDuel.”

Whatever the opposite of Irish exit is (SWAT Team entrance?), that’s what Davis apparently did.

On the heels of that spot, FanDuel posted a tweet with a photo of Davis pointing toward the camera: “Is your season-long fantasy team out of playoff contention? It’s time to walk away. Right, @VontaeDavis?”

Sounds like all-star trolling. But Davis, apparently, loves the campaign, which will have commercials run for three weeks. From the release:

“I know how serious fantasy owners are about their teams, it can be tough for them to admit defeat. The opportunity to get a fresh start with FanDuel and still come out on top can help with the coping process. Sometimes you just have to know when to walk way.”

The good and the bad

Bad acting aside, though good enough for Wilt Chamberlain and anyone else who appeared in “Conan the Destroyer,” the spot lands brilliantly. (FanDuel Group CMO Mike Raffensperger credited Davis’ “fantastic sense of humor,” displaying the former player’s fearlessness “to put a fun spin on a serious decision he made.”)

The humor is evident, despite an over-cheesiness that even Wisconsinites became lactose intolerant.

Naturally, though, social media took over.

Aside from some users accurately noting that Davis was never All-Pro (he was a two-time Pro-Bowler, to be fair), Twitter did not disappoint.

Some of the highlight responses:

  • “I quit watching halfway through it.”
  • “I think I am gonna quit playing FanDuel now.”
  • “Wait, I can quit a league midway through the game and still get paid?”

And the winner of the inaugural Oak Award, given to the tweet with the most shade: “Shocked he sat around long enough to finish this promo.”

Then again, FanDuel gets its campaign shared around the Twitter-sphere. Vontae Davis is back in the limelight and already has one-third the victories Buffalo has this year.

Leaving the Bills now becomes the SECOND-best decision Davis made this season.

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf.

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