Sportsmarketingguy's Blog

Is it just noise or does it connect and move the needle

Archive for the ‘Sports Marketing’ Category

Super Bowl XLIII Ad Winners – Not Who You Think

Posted by sportsmarketingguy on February 3, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII is over and the Steelers pulled it out much to my dismay – the unluckiest people with Santonio Holmes as MVP has got to be Disney World – they were :35 seconds away from either getting Kurt Warner or Larry Fitzgerald. The Steelers final drive cemented Holmes as the unlikely MVP and Disney had to be hoping to see Ben Roethlisberger as the MVP in a Steelers win.

Now let’s get down to the real winner’s – $3M for a :30 second ad is a hefty price, so Super Bowl advertisers that ran ads that were part of a much larger integrated effort to reach a mass audience/consumers are big winners.  The USA Today Ad Meter has spoken and a consumer-generated spot for Doritos entitled “Crystal Ball” has done what ad agencies across the country have been trying to do for the last 10 years – displace Anheuser-Busch from the top position. Of the top 10 ads in the USA Today Ad Meter only one, the Doritos “Crystal Ball” spot is one of my winners.

Doritos: Crystal Ball: I was watching the game with a number of people and all the guys in the room laughed when the spot aired.  In my blog entry on Jan. 26, I called for an un-tapped modern-day Don Draper to come out of the wood work and pull off the unthinkable – little did anyone know that the unlikely winners would be two unemployed brothers, Joe and Dave Herbert from Batesville, Ind.  These brothers aren’t novices, they took their first run at the Frito-Lay contest in 2007, Indianapolis Star reporter Erika Smith has their story and rise to quietly defeat Madison Ave with a spot that cost $2,000 to produce (safe bet that was just the entry tape).

So should ad agencies be concerned that a couple of consumers defeated hard working creative directors?  Not at all – this is the pinnacle of consumer-generated content and what ad agencies and marketers have been trying to convey to clients for the last three years.  With the rise of social media brands need to invite consumers to interact with their brands in more meaningful ways, even if it means giving up some control. Frito-Lay/Doritos is already seeing the ROI on the $1M bonus for the winning ad and the $3M cost to run the ad, in incremental media exposure of the promotion that generated 1,900 entries and the unthinkable of topping the USA Today Ad Meter.

Denny’s: Thugs: So how on earth could I ever pick the Denny’s spot as one of my winner’s?  I actually like the ad and thought it was funny as the “Soprano’s” like thugs are trying to figure out whether or not they need to knock off a rat only to be constantly interrupted by a waitress drawing clown faces on their pancakes with whip cream.  The kicker is when the ad closes offering a Free Grand Slam Breakfast (eggs, pancakes and meat) for everyone in America on Tuesday.  The message in a tough economy: We want to help you. The pay-off: major online buzz for a restaurant searching for consumers share of mind.  Did it work: Their website was inundated causing their server to crash as consumers went to the site to find the closest location.  According to GoogleTrends, five of the top 40 searches on Tuesday morning were Denny’s related and number 9 was “Denny’s locations.”  Denny’s was also top of mind on Twitter as “Denny’s” was number 1 and “Grand Slam” was number 7 on Twitter’s trending topics for Tuesday, not to mention the countless “Tweets” for “free breakfast” and “Denny’s server failures” according to the LA Times. A Google New Search finds more than 640 articles on the Denny’s free breakfast.

Monster.com: Director of Fandemonium: The spot plays right in to the excitement of the NFL on its biggest stage and with a record 98.7 million viewers according to Nielsen, it was the most watched Super Bowl in history.  It is the perfect platform to launch the activation of their NFL sponsorship (see my blog from Jan. 29), while highlighting Monster as a jobs resource.  The Director of Fanedomonium gives one lucky football fan a signing bonus of $100,000 and a lifetime experience as long as you enter by Feb. 15, 2009.

Those three brands stand to gain a lot of consumer awareness and traffic to their retail.

Posted in Advertising, Brand Marketing, Public Relations, Sports Marketing, Super Bowl | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Super Bowl Advertising Update

Posted by sportsmarketingguy on January 29, 2009

Super Bowl Advertising:  Some interesting news on this front. After it was reported earlier this week that NBC had 10 spots remaining in their ad inventory, NBC Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol came out Tuesday and said that only 2 ad spots remained and that all of the ads sold for at least $2.4M with a “large number of them” being sold for $3M earlier this fall before the financial crisis.

Quick Hits: On Super Bowl advertising and a couple of ads I addressed in my last blog.  I highlighted the Coca-Cola Mean Joe Greene ad as one of the Super Bowl classics.  Coca-Cola is airing an ad that will feature current Pittsburgh Steelers S Troy Polamalu that “will be different.”  Will this be a classic?

Monster.com shared some insight into their Super Bowl ad plans on Fox Business saying that one of their ads would be humorous and the other would appoint a fan to the new position of “Director of Fandemonium” and would include a $100,000 signing bonus.  At first glance, this move seems to be a curious PR stunt that doesn’t make a lot of sense given the economic uncertainties.  But a closer look and I recall that in November, Monster announced a multi-year marketing deal with the NFL to become the league’s “Official Career Services Sponsor.”  It was also reported at the time that Monster would work with the NFL to create a year-long promotion that would kick-off at Super Bowl XLIII.  To me this ad is part of supporting Monster’s activation strategy for the partnership and makes a ton of sense.  I always preach sponsorship is useless if you are just putting your name on a billboard and you have to activate to resonate.  I give Monster credit – what better way to launch the year-long initiative then to let people know they could be the first “NFL Director of Fandemonium” during one of the most watched events of the year?  Although I would have wanted to have a message point on this to use when Fox Business questioned whether this was frivolous.

Bud Bowl I was another ad I mentioned in my previous blog entry on Super Bowl Advertising. Turns out, there were two finale’s that never aired (the first can be seen below)!  An equally better ending Grant Pace mentions when he lays it down in a  Q&A on Deadspin.  It would have been instant classic without a doubt – can anyone say Heidi Bowl?

Posted in Advertising, Sports Marketing, Super Bowl | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Super Bowl Ads Worth The $$$ To Reach Consumers

Posted by sportsmarketingguy on January 26, 2009

Each year millions gather around big screen TVs to watch the Super Bowl, never caring or knowing who is playing in the game. Friends go silent when there is a timeout, in anticipation of Super Bowl ads. Past history has produced some memorable spots – Coke’s Mean Joe Green ad
Reebok’s Office Linebacker: Terry Tate and of course the Original Bud Bowl with Bob Costas announcing – Budweiser went on to defeat Bud Light 27-24 and launched a whole series of spots that became a part of Super Bowl lore. A special shout out to my boss Grant Pace who wrote the first Bud Bowl ads, the only thing better was the finale that never aired (maybe I’ll post that later this week).

Even in a down economy and with :30 second spots going for a reported $3M according to Aaron Smith at CNN.com, the game represents the best chance for brands and their agencies to shine and reach a mass audience when they won’t be fast-forwarding their DVRs. According to the Neilsen Company 97.5 million watched last year’s game.

Brian Steinberg of Advertising Age does a good job highlighting the newcomers and what’s at stake for this year’s Super Bowl advertisers in Saturday’s Boston Globe .

It’s safe to say we won’t see a lot of brands just blowing their money for a good laugh or spots designed to win the USA Today Ad Meter the following day. Smart brands will take the opportunity to reinforce what they stand for and how they can help consumers in these challenging times.

The return of Monster.com will be an interesting play and I’ll be curious to see the tone they take given the number of U.S. workers looking for jobs. E-Trade is a curious play given the financial crisis and stock market volatility – I give them credit for stepping up and am interested in seeing how they plan to execute their supported “internet initiatives” which are supposed to include executions on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Equally curious is Cars.com’s participation with a :60 second spot.

I don’t know if we will see any ads that will make Super Bowl history, but the ads I will be looking out for include GE’s ad featuring the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz, Pepsi’s 3-D ad for SOBE Lifewater, and the winning Doritos user-generated commercial that was part of its “Crash The Super Bowl Contest’ that garnered more than 2,000 contestants – the best part of that contest is if the winner gets the #1 rated position in USA Today’s Ad Meter the following day they’ll win a $1 million bonus prize. Who knows maybe there is a Don Draper out there waiting to be found.

Mad Men's Don Draper

Mad Men's Don Draper

Honestly, as a PR/marketing guy you have to love brands that are willing to build platforms to interact with consumers & support their investment in a Super Bowl ad rather than just blowing money to be a part of the Big Game. Stay tuned as we are bound to see some of the spots coming out this week.

I’ll be heading down to the Super Bowl on Tuesday for an event we created, the Donruss Pop Warner Classic that will include several former Tampa Bay Buccaneers players and will be sure to shed some light on the scene and all the other things happening in Tampa.

Posted in Advertising, Brand Marketing, Sneakers, Sports Marketing, Super Bowl | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

When “G” Doesn’t Hit The G-Spot

Posted by sportsmarketingguy on January 23, 2009

So if you have watched any of the college bowl games or NFL playoff’s over the last few weeks, you have certainly seen the new Gatorade ad and its new branding for one of the most iconic brands in sport. This campaign broke a few weeks ago, but what better time to discuss a brand that couldn’t be more aligned with the Super Bowl than leading into Super Bowl Week?
“What’s G? It’s the emblem of a warrior…” as some of the most recognizable faces in sports in black and white cross the screen: Serena Williams, Bill Russell, Dwayne Wade, Derek Jeter and the GOAT – Muhammad Ali with voice over by Lil’ Wayne and produced by Spike Lee. It is an AWESOME spot and Spike Lee continues to amaze – that is until it gets to the end when the letter G resembling something you might have seen on Sesame Street appears on the screen.

Initial reaction by the public and people that have been around the block in the advertising biz and that have launched major brands has been “What is it?” Then we and they find out what it is and you can hear the gasps.

The ad and the letter “G” is causing quite a stir in the sports and brand world. Because it’s Gatorade’s new brand id

The New Gatorade

The New Gatorade

.

For this sports marketing guy it’s blasphemous. I remember watching the 86′ Giants dumping the Orange Gatorade bucket over the head of a younger and unsuspecting Bill Parcells in Super Bowl XXI starting a tradition in sport that has become a part of winning a big game – the ultimate tribute when your brand transcends everything and becomes a part of the game.

The new branding has upset the widow of Gatorade’s inventor Dr. Robert Cade who at 79 years of age can still recognize when a rebrand is a bad idea. But Gatorade Co. said it is “redesigning everything from the sidelines to the shelf to appeal to a broader range of athletes and active people,” while using “bold new packaging.”

HUH?

Even worse, Gatorade says the old packaging will ultimately be phased out…If “bold new packaging” means shocking the heart and soul of what your brand is – potentially putting it on life support, then they have it down.

Whether the new redesign helps Gatorade battle Vitamin Water and other low calorie sports drink alternatives to win back market share is the unanswered question. But it’s going to need more than a redesign to do that – sugar content anyone? Why not position G2 which was brilliantly launched as a low calorie alternative at last year’s Super Bowl as the competitor to Vitamin Water and SOBE Lifewater?

To me, we’ve seen this before – around the time sports fans were introduced to the Gatorade dump and the big orange bucket following the 86′ Super Bowl – it was Coca-Cola playing with its formula and creating “New Coke” – we all know how that turned out…

Posted in Advertising, Brand Marketing, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »