Effective Advertising or Just More Noise?

24 Oct

By Susan Lowe

It’s difficult not to notice that over the past few years, advertising has become a part of sportscasting -what I call ‘advercasting’.  Limited only by the imagination of an advertiser, brand names sponsor just about any kind of play during sporting events especially baseball games.

This past season brands have sponsored steals at second base, the drive of the game, player of the game, pitching changes, game summary, the play of the game, replays, call to the bullpen and more. Many of these brand advertisements are announced repeatedly during the game. A viewer might hear 20-30 of these in a typical broadcast.

During some recent NHL games, the sponsor’s message was part of the sports commentary on improving team performance.  After a tough play ended, the commentator announced  “the team needs to perform like a (luxury brand name) automobile performs.”   The following game the commentator announced  “the team should turn their heads like people turn their heads when they see the (luxury brand name) automobile.”  

More and more brand names are being ‘plugged-in’ to the dialogue of a sportscast. As viewers are recording games and fast forwarding through commercials thanks to DVRs (digital video recorders), advertisers must find new ways to reach their audience.  Advertisers know that when placed directly into the sportscast, viewers cannot avoid the ad-else they miss the actual game.

In my opinion, the number of brands and brand sponsored plays in sports (particularly baseball) today is excessive and this number continues to increase.   With so many brands vying for viewers’ attention during a game, advertisers have some fundamental questions to answer.  Is this kind of advertising effective?  Is it resulting in the intended response to the brand?  Do viewers find the message credible? Or is it just more noise that the viewer is tuning out (broadcast spam)?


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