How do you help your sports event make an impact at a time when fans, consumers and media are being hit with messages about NCAA March Madness Final Four and championship games, MLB season openers, NBA, NHL, MLS, The Masters golf tournament and the upcoming NFL Draft?
This year, we saw a continuing trend in TV advertising: teaser commercials leading up to the Super Bowl. Similar to movie trailers, these 15- to 30-second teasers by brands (like Mr. Clean, Snickers, and Febreze) hinted at their much-anticipated full-length commercials in hopes of building viewer anticipation. But unlike movie trailers, these mini-commercials account for nearly half of the featured spot. Depending on who you ask, these teasers either spoiled the fun or kept viewers wanting more.
As marketing researchers, a good portion of our work involves being "informed pragmatists." By definition, we are tasked with questioning things, being skeptics and trying to separate fact from conjecture.
There is an understandable frenzy of media buzz every January about Super Bowl commercials. This is mostly driven by gimmicks and celebrities rather than advertising that pulls its weight for brands. But one sporting event is often overlooked and actually does deliver an excellent opportunity to advertisers: the NCAA's March Madness.
Three summers ago, the U.S. Men's National Team had something of a coming-out party. They were drawn into that year's Group of Death with sneaky-deadly Ghana, early contending favorites Portugal and eventual champions Germany. Hopes of their advancement were low, outside of the truest of believers. Of course, they did advance, and in doing so triggered another round of "here comes soccer, finally" speculation.
With The Masters fast approaching and Tiger Woods still seeking to reclaim his relevancy among such players as Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, golf has very much been in the news.
When 7-year-old Joseph Perez asked Tom Brady at Super Bowl LI Opening Night "Who is your hero?" he probably wasn't expecting the veteran quarterback to tear up in response. But in one of those moments that's just too good to be scripted, that's what happened.
On a day where we are supposed to recognize and appreciate what makes our loved ones special, it strikes me that sports marketers should pause to do the same for their clients or properties. Hopefully, we all subscribe to the truth that a fundamental strategic function of sports marketing is to properly align brands and properties that "fit together."
We're now two days removed from the Super Bowl. The confetti has been swept away, the recaps have been capped and re-capped and capped again. With Tom Brady's legacy as the greatest quarterback of all time more or less sealed (depending on who you ask), much of the conversation has inevitably turned to the other grand and spectacular tradition of the game - the marketing.
Ah, the Super Bowl-the annual arranged marriage between sports' most-viewed event and TV's single-most expensive ad slot. While brands are guaranteed an audience at least 10 times larger than any other televised event, the debate persists as to whether the current $5 million price tag outweighs the value, with costs continuing to grow year after year.