How much media sense does it make to get a message to one person by using one of the biggest and costliest cable networks? The answer might depend on who that person is, and how much power he/she has.
A few organizations with a political bent have reportedly been buying time on ESPN to get their message to President Obama -- as well as to top Washington movers and shakers. So, who is doing the media efficiency on this buy?
Yes, we all know our president is a big sports fan, especially when it comes to basketball, a sport he has been known to play in his off-hours. But does it make sense to spend $15,000-20,000 for a commercial to target just one person -- or even a handful of people?
Politico says this situation occurred with a Microsoft commercial that looked to discredit Google, the main competitor to Microsoft's upstart Bing search engine. Another Microsoft commercial also had a political bent, concerning the “Do Not Track” issue.
To be sure, if you have a political message that presses consumers to call their Congressional representatives about a specific issue, there are plenty of places to advertise.
Did Microsoft also consider buying a schedule on news channels where people discuss these issues? That might have been a good idea.
One source told Politico: “It’s not just targeting Obama but doing it in a way that is both interesting and will get the attention of the audience but not [be] so unusual that it will put the client in a bad position.”
Commercials can of course target different viewer groups. The best ones do this with real effectiveness. Folding ESPN into the mix? That could make sense.
Mind you, this isn't new. Political commercials have run in big sports and entertainment events for years. Now, looking for fragmented audiences around the TV dial, it makes sense to broaden one's media palate of TV networks and platforms.
Back in December, regarding similar political efforts, a Microsoft representative told Politico that the effort would “break through all the noise.” Money well spent? Next time, how about some robo-call advertising on the phones of Washington’s bigwigs. That kind of talk is cheap -- but not as entertaining.