Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sports and marketing

Today I attended a Philadelphia Eagles football game. Yes, I am a fan of "the Iggles". (Okay, you can stop laughing now... it's a tough team to follow at times, I know, but I still love 'em. It's a weird Philly thing.) Terrible loss today on many fronts, but that's not what I'm here to discuss.

As a marketing rep at a full-service marketing agency, I am well aware of the influence that marketing has on people's lives. Sometimes I terribly regret the way marketing is shoved down everybody's throats.

For example, it's gotten to the point where professional sports games have transcended the athletic prowess of the athletes, and has instead become one gigantic billboard for corporations. At today's game, nary a second went by when I was not bombarded with some sort of ad placement, whether it was a sign, an announcement, or a sponsored winner of something or other. I suppose that this is just a fact of life nowadays, but that doesn't mean I have to like it! Here's where marketing failed, in my mind:

1. Campbell's Soup sponsored a section of fans, whereby every fan in that section won a can of soup. Gee, wow. Lucky day. Oh and by the way, this came on a day when there was a big food drive at the game to feed the poor on Thanksgiving. So not only do the fans get to win a WHOLE can of soup, but these poor saps look like complete jerks if they don't drop the can into the food drive collection box. So much for winning something for once!

2. Speaking of winning, US Airways had this ingenious idea: give away a gift certificate for $200 on a future flight. First of all, this is a lame prize if you can't afford to go away in the first place. It's not like it's a $200 gift certificate to a nice restaurant or something, where your meal is covered and everything is basically paid in full. No, you have to use this gift certificate to pay for a flight, where you then have to spend more money because you're going away! Secondly, what if you hate flying? Thirdly, well, I could go on, but you get the idea.

3. Lastly, when the players are introduced, they run out of a long inflatable tunnel and through a giant Eagles helmet. Emblazoned along the, dare I say, shaft, of the tunnel is the word "Levitra", the name of an erectile dysfunction drug. Ok, I don't mean to be gross here, but that is not not the kind of mental picture I want to have in my mind--- a bunch of beefy men charging together in a group out of a hole. Ugh. If the word were plastered across the tight-fitting Lycra of the cheerleaders, that may be a different story. But as it stands now, this marketing attempt is very flaccid.

4. Virtually all of the rest of the ads/plugs/sponsorships are lost in the fog of my memory. Way to go to guys. Nice job in spending those ad dollars.

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