Subliminal Messages

Since people are becoming a lot more knowledgeable of what techniques advertisers are using to get their products across, many companies are turning to in-game video game advertising to get their messages across subliminally. Although we may not notice that most of the ads on the video games are there, the fact is that subliminally in our mind we do see them ads and it causes our reaction towards the product whether it be good or bad. An article in the C&G Monthly Magazine demonstrated how product placement of “Gatorade advertisements in six EA Sports titles – NHL 09 NHL 10 NBA LIVE 07 NBA LIVE 08 NBA LIVE 09 and NBA Street Homecourt – led to a 24% increase in Gatorade sales in the participating households yielding a $3.11 return on investment.” In reality many sports video games strive to be as realistic as possible and product placement on billboards and sidelines is an accepted part of the sports landscape. Elizabeth Harz, Vice-President of Global Media in EA Sports, stated, “for the first time advertisers are able to link the value of their in-game marketing or sponsorship to actual sales. Now brands can feel confident adding gaming as a core media channel for their advertising.” Gerardo Guzman, Nielsen’s Director of Media Product Leadership, added that “bringing our industry accepted ad effectiveness understanding to video games is another way to help marketers understand how consumers respond to advertising across different environments.”

Dan Poindexter said that the rise of product placement in video games was because of the rise of consoles such as the XBOX 360, Playstations 3 and Nintendo Wii. “Advertisers began dreaming up fresh and innovative ways to contact target markets through new channels, reaching a steadily growing populace of gamers by placing products and virtual ads right into the games they play every day at home,” Poindexter added.

I think product placement in video games is probably the best idea that advertisers have ever had. The reason I say this is because the audience that plays video games is probably one that doesn’t watch television much because they are constantly on their game consoles. By implementing advertising into their games, advertisers are able to reach this group of people without having to interrupt what they like to do, play video games. Whenever I play FIFA 2011 on the Playstation 3 I have began to notice that not only is there advertising on the sideline boards but now the players are even beginning to carry name brand shoes. Advertising has such a big role in NBA 2K11 that a game mode in the game is named after a brand the “Sprite Blacktop”. While these messages are subliminally put into the games, many gamers have been noticing them more and more but most don’t mind it. Most gamers don’t mind the image of gatorade popping up when they introduce the score in their favorite football or basketball game so long as it doesn’t interrup the game play. Advertising in video games has always interested me because it combines two of the things that I like to  do the most. This is definitely a field that I wouldn’t mind getting into in the future.

Sources:

W, Eric. (2010, September 16). Study Finds that In-Game Product Placement Works. C&G Monthly. Retrieved from: http://www.cgmonthly.com/blog/general-gaming/item/18042-study-finds-that-in-game-product-placement-works.html

Poindexter, Dan. (2010, February 1). Virtually Untapped: The Current State of Product Placement in Video Gaming. Holy Cow Branding. Retrieved from: http://holycowbranding.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/virtually-untapped-the-current-state-of-product-placement-in-video-gaming/

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Advertising Undercover

Boxing has become one of the most watched sports on pay per view. Since the old days of Muhammad Ali to the present days of Manny Pacquiao boxing seems to gain larger and larger crowds every year. It is no surprise that companies have been fighting for the rights to get their brand out there infront of the multitude of fans. According to Media Life Magazine “The most sought-after piece of inventory at a boxing match is the main sponsorship splashed on the center of the boxing ring’s mat.” The reason for this is because this placement puts the brand in the middle of the action. It is visible from the middle of the ring and will continue to be in replays and photographs taken for different articles and columns by reporters. Although this may seem like the most important type of advertising, in reality Boxing is full of it. The article in Media Life Magazine goes on to explain that “sponsors can put their logo on just about anything.This includes other ringside elements, such as the ropes, the rope dividers, the corner pads, or smaller ads on the sides or corners of the ring mat itself.” Companies can even sponsor the ring card girls who walk around before each round. They can sponsor not only the card she is holding up but even the clothes that she wears while she goes up and does her job. The fact that sponsors can have this much control over what goes on in the boxing match reminds me of how NASCAR is ran by advertisements and sponsors. Other more discrete ways of companies pushing the brands on people is by having the people that walk out with the boxer along with the boxer wear the brand right up until the fight. Some will even place towels in the background in between rounds when the boxers have a close up on their face when they are trying to recover. Large banners are also now being carried in behind the boxer as he is introduced. But the biggest demonstration of how advertising is taking over boxing was discussed in an East Side Boxing article by Ed Ludwig in which he talked about how some boxers are now allowing sponsors to put a temporary tattoo on the boxers back with whatever brand they want to promote. Ludwig described Omar Weis as “a giant billboard” when he recently defeated Hector Camacho Jr. Some boxers prefer this method because they get more money than the fight itself. Some networks such as ESPN 2 and Fox Sports have already banned boxers from participating in such acts but sometimes have to change their minds because the boxers will refuse to not do it because of all of the money that is involved. Ed Ludwig points out that the biggest difference between ads on players in boxing compared to football is that boxing is an individuals sport and “what ultimately happens in boxing may lead the way for other individual sports like tennis and golf to take a closer look as to how they regulate advertising.”

In my opinion I don’t find it wrong that boxers have chosen to put temporary tattoos on their backs to earn an extra buck. I may not be a huge follower of the sport but I feel like this is a great innovative way to get a brand across and it won’t cause a distraction to the audience. Since it is a temporary tattoo I feel as though it will be the same as if you were watching a boxer that was full of tattoo. While some people may not like the idea of course, I’m a firm believer that people will always be against change. We are scared to try something new and the minute we see something new and innovative we find ways to bring it down or prove it wrong. This thinking will get us no where in the 21st century as there will be plenty of new things inveneted because of the technology that we have today.

Sources:

Vasquez, Diego. (2010, April 5). Your Client’s Ad at the Boxing Ring. Media Life. Retrieved from: http://www.medialifemagazine.com/artman2/publish/Out_of_Home_19/Your_client_s_ad_at_the_boxing_ring.asp

Ludwig, Ed. (2010, August 4). Boxing: Advertising- What is the solution?. East Side Boxing. Retrieved from: http://www.eastsideboxing.com/ludwig0804.html

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All Mighty Super Bowl Ads

A successful campaign during the Super Bowl can make or break many companies because of how wide the exposure is. Many companies still take the chances because the positives outway the negatives. Regardless of how good or bad the commercial is people will remember it because of that. Superbowl ads usually rank really high in the Nielsen ratings reaching more than 90 million people. All of this exposure of course comes to a cost. Below is a chart from Business Insider in which they show how much a commercial during the Super Bowl has cost throughout the year.

As we can see in the chart, over all the prices for a 30-second ad has increased every year since 1967. According to CBS News, 2010 was only the second time in history that the prices declined from the previous year but it was still the most expensive on television. Many companies like Pepsi and General Motors decided not to participate because of the high prices and this made way to smaller companies like Snapple to take advantage of the millions of people who would be watching. Tim Calkins,  a marketing professor at Kellogg School of Management,  stated in an interview that ,”In a way, Super Bowl advertisers are acting like people are acting in the economy, which is they’ll buy only if there’s a deal. If the price is right, people will step up.” This is true because many bigger companies such as Coca-Cola or Nike only advertise to remind consumer that they are there, so the price for a super bowl ad may not benefit the result that they expect to get. Also because the commercial are so expensive and some are never seen again, companies spend millions in the production of the commercial so that it is entertaining for the public and gets their message across. The price of the commercials is worth it to many smaller companies because during the Super Bowl they are able to expose their product to a crowd of millions of people that they otherwise wouldn’t get. Super Bowl ads are said to be the most clever and eye-catching ads that companies put out all year. It is for this reason that many students are even made by teachers to watch the super bowl and write a paper on their favorite ad.

I personally love commercials and the Super Bowl commercials never fail to disappoint. Ever since I was little I remember watching the Super Bowl and remembering which commercials were the funniest so that I could talk about them the next day in school with my friends. I am sure I was not the only one to do this and that is why I agree with many companies that say that the cost is worth it because of the exposure it gives the product. Money is money and can be made or lost in a matter of minutes so it is always nice to see certain companies take risks and put out commercials during prime time television. Super Bowl commercials have been the talk of people for many years now and are almost as important as the game itself. Some people even joke and say that they are ready to watch the Super Bowl commercials and not the game itself. But whatever the case may be, the commercials reach millions of people and will continue to do so for many years to come. Of course we may not get to see them next year if the NFL has a lockdown. Way to go NFL! Not.

Below are some of the most famous Super Bowl Commercials of all time.

Sources:

Baumer, Kevin. (2011, February 3). Here’s A Look At The Cost of Super Bowl Ads Through The Years. Business Insider. Retrieved from: http://www.businessinsider.com/cost-super-bowl-ads-through-the-years-2011-2

Fredrix, Emily. (2010, January 11). Super Bowl Ad Prices Dip, But Still Pricey. CBS News. Retrieved from: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/11/sportsline/main6082591.shtml

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Ads for Tough Guys

If there is one sport that has taken the most criticism since it started it has been UFC. Ultimate Fighting Championship has been the talk of many people for its violent nature and bloody scenes at times. It is no surprise why Sen. John McCain once called it “human cockfighting.” But despite of all of the criticisms, according to USA Today ,” The league is now a multimillion dollar enterprise that broadcasts arena-filled events on pay-per-view and has deals with cable networks like Spike TV.” This sport has grown so much in fact that it is now a great investment for many companies to promote their products. Advertising has not always been well received in UFC though. A prime example of this occurred in 2006 when ESPN sent out the following memo:

“Effective immediately, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ads are no longer accepted on the Disney & ESPN family of networks.  UFC ads are a direct violation of our Affiliate agreements “Affiliate shall not insert into the ESPN network advertisements or promotions of any sports program.”  Please contact your programming colleagues for complete advertising restrictions.  ESPN is not accepting these ads on a national level, and the same restrictions apply for our local Affiliates.  Thank you for your cooperation and immediate attention to this matter.”

Many didn’t understand why ESPN and Disney were taking such dramatic measures to separate themselves from MMA ( mixed martial arts). The biggest reason which was stated to be that the ads were a direct violation of the affiliate agreements seemed to me to be very vague and not do justice or respect the sport. While some people might view the sport as too violent, bloody, or gory for their liking, other might think the complete opposite and value MMA for what it is, a sport.

Although things did start rocky with UFC and advertising, now we see a lot more effort from companies to try and get a spot on the ring or even represent a fighter. Recently UFC has signed a deal with Anheuser-Busch which symbolized the coming of age to a sport that many didn’t give a chance to last more than five years. Dana White , UFC President, said in an interview for USA Today that the deal was “huge for the sport” and would be a”key step in the sport’s migration into mainstream entertainment because of the brewer’s reputation as a flagship sponsor for sports like boxing and NASCAR.” This deal was seen as a win-win for both sides because while stated earlier UFC gets one step close to reaching bigger brands to advertise, Anheuser-Busch gets a great way to reach their choice beer-consuming group of males between the ages of 21-34. Tony Ponturo, Vice-President of Global Media and Sports Marketing for Budweiser, said that they were “following the consumer and what they are interested in.”

The thing that interested me the most about the UFC was the type of brands that were advertised. Logically and strategically most of the brands that are seen in the ring are targetted towards men who are in between the ages of 21 and 35. We can find many brands that reinforce what it is to be a man such as Harkey Davidson and Budlight along with other newer brands that are common for a younger audience such as AMP and Monster energy drinks. You will not find an ad for Dove or Loreal make up in UFC because they will not apply to the audience that watches the sport. While researching this topic I was reminded of how it is important to know which people are going to be exposed to your product and knowing how to place what ads where. Although we do see the sport taking strides in the right direction, according to UFC Dump, “in recent months critics have cited the UFCs failure to attract mainstream advertisers as a sign that the sport is not yet being fully accepted despite its stellar growth in advertiser-coveted demographics.” By this we can conclude that we can’t tell what the future hold for the sport of MMA, all we can do is sit back and let time tell it all.

Below is a video of Tony Ponturo speaking of how the Bud Light and UFC deal came to be.

Sources:

Leonard, Christopher. (2008, February 28). Anheuser-Busch launches advertising alliance with UFC. USA Today. Retrieved from: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/2008-02-28-ufc-bud_N.htm

Singer, David. (2006, October 16). ESPN: No More UFC Ads. MMA On Tap. Retrieved from: http://www.mmaontap.com/mma/entry/espn-no-more-ufc-ads/

UFC and Budweiser- Advertising?. (2008, November 1). UFC Dump. Retrieved from:http://www.ufcdump.com/articles/18/UFC-and-Budweiser—Advertising?.html

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Advertising Mania!

In no other sport is advertising more evident then in the world of NASCAR drivers. Not only are the cars filled with different ads but also the drivers themselves wear ads on their jackets and pants. NASCAR has taken a hands off approach on advertising and has incorporated to the lifestyle of NASCAR. According to the New York Times, NASCAR has not only made it easy for companies to promote and sponsor drivers, they also have the ability to sponsor races. Trackmedia Group did some research and found that:

  • 1 in 3 American adults follows NASCAR (75 million +).

  • NASCAR is broadcast in over 150 countries and 23 languages every weekend in season.

  • NASCAR races draw larger crowds than the Super Bowl, World Series and the NBA finals combined!

  • NASCAR is growing!

  • Race attendance has almost doubled in the last 15 years.

  • 6.9 million fans attended NASCAR Cup Series events in 2005.

  • 77% of NASCAR fans are between 18-54 years old.

  • 40% are women.

  •  

    With facts like these it is no wonder why NASCAR is such a hot commodity for large companies like M&Ms, Cheerios, Budweiser, Home Depot and others. Advertising plays such a big role in the races that most cars are now referred to by the brand that they represnt and not the model of the car or the driver. We can expect Joe Logano to be driving the Home Depot bright orange car right next to the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Budlight and AMP energy drink car. Comments like these are common in the world of NASCAR. According to the New York Post some companies that represent the same driver have even gone further and partnered with eachother. A great example is Best Western Hotels who made over $16.7 million just by partnering with other sponsors. “Best Western hotels now buy office supplies from Office Depot, use U.P.S. as their shipping carrier, and outfit employees in Cintas uniforms; those three companies, in turn, direct employees to book work-related travel at Best Western properties.” After hearing numbers like these one would think that NASCAR would never be struggling financially but the fact of the matter is that recently television ratings and race attendances are down. Not only that, but many big companies are trimming their NASCAR spending by as much as 30%. Hits like these have been affecting many different racecar drivers and forcing them to make adjustments in their choice of sponsors.

    The biggest reason why I chose to dedicate this blog to NASCAR was because I always wondered if this amount of advertising that is present to the public at once would work. Some reasearch done by Trackmedia Group shows:

  • Advertising to fans at live sporting events is more influential than television and the internet.

  • 82% surveyed agreed that participating in a live event is more engaging than other forms of communication.

  • 80% agreed they would be more likely to purchase after attending a live event.

  • 85% of participants would tell others of brand experience.

  • 81% agreed that it would make them more receptive to their marketing from the product/brand.

  • 80% agreed that it is more likely to give them information than other forms of communication.

  • 80% of NASCAR fans said that when they buy a NASCAR sponsor’s product, they feel they are contributing to the sport.

  • Out of all of the statistics the one that really caught my attention was that 80%  of NASCAR fans said that when they buy a NASCAR sponsor’s product they feel as though they are contributing to the sport. This just proved to me that by the brands relating the product so close to the driver and the car, the fans would associate the two  and make them want to buy the product in order to support the driver. I find it very smart and interesting the route that NASCAR took in allowing advertising in the sport. Companies see placing their ads on cars and drivers as a good investment because all the audience ever sees is the cars drive around in a circle over and over again. This causes the brand to be repeated numerous amount of times. Not only will the public be able to see the ads while the race is going but also in other stuff such as highlights and promotional pictures. Good job  NASCAR, I commend you on your ability to handle advertising the right way.

    In the video above we can clearly see that even though it is a Coca-Cola commercial, the fact there are so many other ads placed on the drivers gives the other companies free airtime and advertising spots.

    Sources:

    Track Media Group gave a detailed description and statistics of the importance of advertising in the world of NASCAR. It split up the statistics into two parts: Advertising Benefits and NASCAR Statistics to make it easier for the public to navigate between the two. (http://www.trackmediagroup.com/company/advertising/nascar/)

    Newman, Andrew Adam. (2009, June 17). NASCAR Sponsors Find Customers in Other Sponsors. NY Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/18/business/media/18adco.html

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    Dasher ads = Ads Everywhere

    One of the most physical, if not most physical sports played in America and all over the world has got to be hockey. In no other sport is it allowed to knock over a player over the boards or even get into a fist fight with another player. Yes they have a penalty box but that is just a small price to pay for the excitement added to the game. According to The Media Buyer Planner, the most common type of arena advertising are called dasher ads. These dasher ads are the ones that “run around the sideboards surrounding the arena.” These should not be confused with in-ice ads which go under the ice. Since hockey is not a widely televised sport, most advertising agencies rely heavily on the dasher ads to catch the eye of the fans that pay to watch the game live at the arena. The Media Buyer Planner article also points out that TV screens are becoming more common in the arenas to reach fans as they leave or go to the restroom. While “most arenas handle their own ad sales, a couple of companies, including Distinctive Design in Newport News, Virginia, and Matrix Media in Columbus, Ohio, sell across a network of arenas.” This is important to point out because it shows how every situation or arena is different and not all of the advertisements that the fans see are controlled by the arena. Companies such as Distinctive Design dedicate their whole business to selling ad spaces in different arenas and it is no wonder why they are so successful.

    Although dasher ads are the most visible advertising in hockey arenas, they are not the only place where advertising can be found. Just like in the NBA and NFL, the National Hockey League is now allowing teams to sell ad space on their practice jerseys. According to a post by Dany Toth on Bloguin, “some NHL teams like the Chicago Blackhawks (Giordano’s pizza) and the Calgary Flames (Rona) already allow corporate sponsorship on practice jerseys. And your Vancouver Canucks are currently looking into bringing in a new sponsor or a current sponsor that would like to buy space on their practice jerseys.” Although this may seem like something new to hockey, the fact is that European teams already have different company logos on their uniforms. While many people in America don’t agree with the look or feel that the different ad spaces provide, I believe that it will not matter in the end because although most owners do care about their fan base money speaks louder than anything. I personally don’t mind seeing advertising on hockey uniforms and it may be because I do not follow the sport as much as I do others so it doesn’t affect me as much. But coming from watching a sport that I am very passionate about and is full of advertising on their uniforms like soccer is, I can assure the fans that even though it may seem hard to accept the fact that their favorite jerseys will be covered with different logos and may look tacky, a few ads on jerseys will not affect the players and their ability to play the game. I personally see this as a win-win situation because the owners get the money that they need to keep a team going and the fans continuously get the game play that they expect.

    Sources:

    Hockey Arena Advertising. (2009, June 7). Hockey Arena Advertising Reaches Engaged Fans. Media Buyer Planner. Retrieved from: http://www.mediabuyerplanner.com/entry/41739/hockey-arena-advertising-reaches-engaged-fans/

    Toth, Dan. (2010, November 4). Adspace on Jerseys. Bloguin. Retrieved from: http://bloguin.com/articles/hockey/adspace-on-jerseys.html

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    Advertising the Golf Way

    Golf is a sport that has come to life in recent years because of the extraordinary names that play the game today, Tiger Woods leading the way of course. An interesting thing to note though is that gold doens’t really involve much advertisement. Since golf has been classified as being for the older male and more of a past time and hobby than a sport, it is really hard companies and agencies to want to advertise their products in golf. The biggest way that golf creates an advertising buzz if by the use of infomercials. Infomercials are long-format television commercials that serve the purpose of informing the public on a certain topic and urge them to buy the product. Such is the emphasis on infomercials in the golf world that there are agencies such as The Golf Agency who’s “number one goal is to help you sell your product.” The Golf Agency boasts that they believe in an “efficient yet sophisticated design philosophy that allows your customers to easily learn and comprehend the information they need – and more important, make it easy for them buy your product!” This only goes to show how important infomercials are to the golf community. Many veteran players are always willing to better their swing or know the correct way to strike the ball, and there are many products in the infomercials that they can check out and see if they work. Some of the most highly accredited and successful golf infomercials include:

    • Tour Striker
    • Heavy Putter
    • Sky Caddie GPS
    • F2 Golf
    • Jim Hardy’s The Plane Truth for Golfers
    • Roger Fredericks Secrets to Golf Flexibility
    • Eddie Merrins (The Little Pro) Swing the Handle

    Although I admit that golf infomercials are very boring and repetitive, the fact of the matter is that they work because peole keep buying the product. Everyone always says that all infomercials are the same: that they include a new piece of equipment that will improve your game, show different graphs and animations to back up the data, and then give testimonial of how much they liked the product but even after knowing all of this information the consumer is still ansy to buy the product. The reason for this is because there are so many golf infomercials that many of them don’t get repeated so the product really is only for a limited time only like it says. I admire the way golf has used a different type of advertisement to get their messages across. Nobody really complains about the golf infomercials much anymore because it is what is expected. The infomercials are unique to golf and that is one of the biggest reasons why they are so successful.

    Another important topic I wanted to touch on was Tiger Woods, arguably the most famous golf player in history.  Tiger Woods was signed to Nike brand from the time he went pro at the age of 21 in 1996 and has been a part of them ever since. Nike has practically taken over every aspect of Tiger Woods life. According to Forbes magazine, Tiger is also wearing Nike gear when he does endorsement deals for American Express, Accenture, General Motors, and Electronic Arts. The biggest demonstration of loyalty from a brand to player was probably demonstrated between Nike and Tiger Woods. When Woods was caught in the scandal with his personal life, he lost many endorsement deals and his career seemed to be taking a huge down fall. All of the major endorsement deals dropped him except for one, Nike. Nike stood by his side since the very beginning and even helped him clear up his image by coming up with a commercial that would cause sentiment in the public towards Tiger.

     This really shocked me because I never imagined that a brand would be so loyal that they would even use their own advertising to help a player out. This really made me think highly of the Nike company and how it managed the situation. Although it was a risky move by Nike in not knowing how their loyal customers would react, the fact of the matter is that even though they did lose some customers, the public reacted positively to the advertising commercial that was launched and Woods began to gain some fan base back.

     

    Sources:

    DiCarlo, Lisa. (2004, March 18). Six Degrees of Tiger Woods. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved from:http://www.forbes.com/2004/03/18/cx_ld_0318nike.html

    The Golf Marketing & Advertising homepage described the importance of infomercials in the sport of golf. They also provide expertise in  product design, business development, and comprehensive media and advertising campaigns which allows them to further help their customers start up their business. (http://www.thegolfagency.com/)

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