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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pervasive Branding in Advertainment (This Post Brought to You by the Austin Wranglers)

First, a shout-out to Kim Haynes for setting up the Tweet-up at the Austin Wranglers game. It was a small crowd (unfortunately due to short notice) but I had a blast watching my first arena football game and getting to meet some more Austin people.

One of the first things you notice when looking down at the field (after the cheerleaders) are the ads along the foam pads that act as boundaries. Standard advertising strategy, plaster every inch of available space with your brand.

In the middle of the stadium (between the lower and upper seats) is a narrow marquee that announces touchdowns, field goals, time outs... and of course displays more ads.

Up above your head, on the Jumbotron, is the expected big screen to watch the action happening. But also below that is a lightboard-style screen for... more advertising.

Alright, so far I'm not too surprised. A stadium, or arena, is a great place to advertise because you know your audience is captive. They're going to keep their butts in their chairs for at least a few hours. That's precious time that advertisers want to use to push their brand inside your head.

But, where things really got interesting was once play started. Actual aspects of the game were being branded as well. Yes, this was Sportsvertising! For example:
Papa John's Extra Point
Coca-Cola Time Out
StubHub First Down

I'm almost positive the touchdowns were branded but I can't remember by whom. But, if you look at the Sponsors page on their site, they've got quite a few official team offerings. One that made me chuckle is Hooters as the Preferred Buffalo Wings Provider.

And, to make the game more interactive (or something), they have built in little contests. The Papa John's "Beat the Kicker" if a team misses 3 kick attempts you get a free pizza. And IHOP had one too but I couldn't tell what the contest was. That is in addition to the standard T-Shirt tossing that seemed to happen once or twice a quarter.

While none of these tactics are exceptional on their own, the combination of them in a single venue was staggering. I wasn't sure if I should be rooting for the Team or for the Sponsor that funded the play. But, in the era of advertainment, I suppose I'll have to evolve if I want to survive.

As an addendum, let me add that they also did some cool things. There was a dance number by a troop of older women, they did a good job and seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. They had 2 people in sumo suits running across the field while mascots chased them and knocked them down. Did a football throw from increasing yard markers, if you made it in the uprights you won cash. And 5 boys weeded through a scattering of mini footballs looking for the marked one, while tossing any unmarked into the stands.

So over all, it was a very fun night and something I'd be interested in doing again. Especially now that I can anticipate the blitz of advertising.

Image by Klobetime


dedmond29 said...

You should have emailed the PR Director before writing this to initiate a paid review :-)

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