Nobody Ever Cried Over A Banner Before

Super Bowl, Olympics or targeted online advertising? That's the question of the day!

If you had a few million bucks lying around, how would you spend it?  Would you blow your budget on a single Super Bowl ad, buy a category-exclusive Olympics sponsorship, or spend a few million bucks on the Web?  The answer lies, of course, in strategy.

If you’re trying to see true ROI, you can rule out the Super Bowl.  The Super Bowl is a gimmick, albeit a really big, impactful one.  The Super Bowl guarantees you lots of press for about two to three weeks, a large one-time audience and a rather big spike in attention for the same amount of time.  Of course, if you don’t follow that spot up with some level of support and continuity messaging, then you won’t expect to see much more impact for the rest of the year.

The Olympics are the world’s stage. If you are looking for a global audience, then this is for you.  Of course the Olympics only last a few weeks, but in terms of frequency and exclusivity during that time period, you can’t beat it.  Additionally, the Olympics become a promotional vehicle that you can leverage the rest of the year.  You can align yourself with emotionally gripping moments and memories that can last a lifetime, -- but the halo effect of that effort will last you for about four to six weeks around the Olympics, and then you’re back to square one if you didn’t capitalize on them right away.



That leaves us with online media.  I may be biased (of course I am), but I think this is always going to be your best bet, especially if you do an apples to apples budgetary comparison.

First off is the factor of waste.  In the aforementioned vehicles, there will always be a portion of the audience that does not represent your target, so the effective cost of your media will be higher than you would like.  In online, and through the integration of audience buying platforms, you can reduce your waste factor to near zero percent.  That means you only hit whom you want to hit.  Of course, for impact purposes you should never go to 100% audience buying; rather, you should balance this tactic with high impact takeovers and other creative executions. 

Did I mention you can do this at the same time as the Super Bowl and the Olympics?  The Web has not gotten wrapped up (yet) in the exclusive, upfront negotiations of network television.  That means quality, premium inventory is available through the year, even during these key viewing periods.  What’s more, lots of people turn to the Web for information during these high-profile sporting events, and you can take advantage of that!

So why is this even a debate?

Because the Super Bowl and the Olympics are sexy.  These are the two largest appointment-viewing opportunities in the world, and the two biggest tentpoles that TV has left to offer.  They aren’t going anywhere the next few years, and advertisers know it.

 Sports are possibly the only recession-proof programming there is, and they are by far the most emotional programming out there.  This year’s Olympics are virtually guaranteed to create moments of watery eyes and weepy voices.  Nobody ever cried over a banner before, unless he was reading the performance report for the untargeted waste of impressions he spent back in 1999.

So the debate, however silly, will rage on as to whether the Super Bowl, the Olympics or audience-based buying on the Web is more valuable.  Me?  I will be at home, watching the Olympics with my laptop in front of me.

What about you?

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