Seven Steps to being a real guest at the World Cup 2010 Advertising Party

My iPhone tells me it’s the 24th October but everybody in advertising knows it’s the end of the year. 2009 is pretty much done and dusted. Incredible as it may seem though, there are still marketers out there who are asking me “should my brand be advertising during World Cup 2010”?
Are you serious? Where have you been for the past 4 years? Surely this should have been sorted out months, if not years, ago! Ok, got that off my chest!
So, without going into all the legal implications of ambush marketing outlined in the Trade Marks Amendment Act 61 of 2002, the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Municipal By-laws, and the plethora of explicit FIFA restrictions governing what may or may not be done by advertisers who are not FIFA partners, what is the correct answer? This quick Q&A session should guide you through the decision making process. Good luck!
Q1: Are you a World Cup 2010 or FIFA partner?
• Answer – Yes: You need advertise. You can go put your feet up. You’re done with this survey.
• Answer – No: Go to Question 2
Q2: Should my brand attempt a little bit of ambush marketing?
• Answer – Yes: Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect R200. Actually, maybe you should take the R200 with you. You’re going to need it for bail.
• Answer – No: Go to Question 3.
Q3: Would it be of benefit for my brand to be there?
Even though you might manage to fly under the ambush marketing radar and avoid detection, let me give you a clue before you answer. Remember what advertising great David Ogilvy said, “The customer is no fool, she’s your wife”! What will consumers think of your brand as a result of you attempting to be involved in World Cup 2010? If you threw a lavish wedding reception and you discovered that I had gate-crashed the party by disguising myself as a guest, eaten your food and drank your wine, what would you say to me?
A]“Push off you little scavenger” or B] “Great disguise G”?
• Answer A: You understand that trying to staple your brand onto the World Cup 2010 packaging is not necessarily going to make you look like a good guy. Don’t go there.
• Answer B: Go to question 4
Q4: Do you really need to advertise during World Cup 2010?
• Answer – No: Then don’t go there.
• Answer – Yes: Then you have you have no choice. Go to question 5.
Q5: What media mix should we use?
That depends entirely on your normal communication platform. Many advertisers seem to be concerned about the possible disruption and decline of media audiences over the period of the World Cup but some media will be impacted by the drama of 2010 and others not.
Problem is of course that given the publishing frequency of AMPS, we’ll only get to know what happened months after the event. And even then it will depend whether the fieldwork period for AMPS 2010 actually corresponds with the World Cup. Perhaps we’ll never know. Maybe it will remain one of those great South African mysteries like “why didn’t Alan Donald run?” or “why can’t the Sharks concentrate for 80 minutes”?
That doesn’t mean plain old common sense can’t supply the answers. So for instance, if you are a major retailer and you are using local newspapers to distribute loose inserts to Bertha Benoni, then there is no reason to stop. 2010 will make no difference at all to the average housewife’s readership of local newspapers.
Generally speaking, all media other than Television (see question 6) may well experience a surge in consumption. After all, the World Cup is one of the world’s greatest news events. And it’s not just about the soccer results. Great news stories will abound. Who’s coaching Bafana Bafana today? Which German soccer players were injured because they were not wearing their bullet proof vests? How much does Maradona really weigh? Which soccer team had their belongings stolen by gorgeous girls wearing lingerie? Oops. Sorry about that last one, that’s ICC Champions League cricket. But you get the picture!
Q6: Should we still use TV during 2010?
Many industry pundits are warning clients that they should stay off TV because the TV ad-rates will be going through the roof. Not sure I agree with them because it really depends on which part of the sandpit you are building your castle in.
In up market households with dual decoders, PVRS and multiple TV screens disruption of viewing patterns should be no different to that experienced last weekend during the Currie Cup semi-finals. 5 straight hours of rugby. The boys will watch what they want and the girls will watch what they want. Sure the disruption will be going on for 6 weeks rather than just a day, and there will be some erosion of audiences outside of the immediate soccer arena, but as long as the ad-rates are synchronized there’s no pricing problem with that.
At the top end of the market, TV rates should not be going up in non-soccer programming, they should be coming down. Watch out for the great packages coming your way. Chick flick festivals. Patrick Swayze reruns. As long as the TV rates mirror the audience delivery then there’s no problem.
If we look at the broad mass of South African consumer households, where there is one TV screen and no multiple viewing options, then it’s an entirely different story. One man one TV. Soccer rules! So stay off the SABC unless you really need to be in World Cup 2010 soccer programming. TV rates in non-soccer programming should come down but they will not come down enough to offset the inevitable audience erosion.
• Answer – No: Fine. No problem. Use other media to do the do the job. Go to Question 7.
• Answer – Yes: Fine. Just make sure you are paying the correct price. There’s no reason to pay a premium, unless you want/ need to be a direct part of the 2010 World Cup soccer screenings. Go to Question 7.
Q7 Can we break through the clutter?
• Answer – Yes.
If you can’t spend enough across the entire event to play in the big budget sandpit, then at least execute big on the day! Big ads and big ideas. Large format ads and longer duration commercials tend to better noted and break through the micro advertising clutter. It will also make sense to have a singular message, not lots of small divisive messages. Let everything you have come to bear on one thought which can be reinforced. You can’t spend enough to beat the clutter across the entire event but you can spend enough to at least be noticed on the days that you do advertise.
So have fun. Enjoy the 2010 party. But hey! Don’t be a gatecrasher. Make sure that the consumer believes that you really have been invited.
If any of this makes sense to you, try following on