As an attorney, one of my most oft-committed sins against the art of persuasion is forgetting that brevity is key. Get in, deliver your message, and get out.

In contrast, concise delivery of a message is something that good branding and advertising generally excel at. I say "generally," because as I was sitting at/in/on/around/near Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome watching the Minnesota Vikings de-pants the New York Giants to get the #2 Seed in the NFC playoffs, I began to think of other sponsorship mouthfuls that make me question whether any message really gets transferred to the recipient. Given my football frame of mind, the only thing I could think of was the horrendous rebranding of the Chicago Bears as Bears football presented by Bank One.

But, that also get me thinking about some sponsorship "eyefuls" which often leave me confused. For example, there’s this:

(If you prefer live action…)

This…

And this:

While I can’t claim to be an expert on advertising expenditures, it seems to me that budgets may be better spent trying to distinguish yourself, rather becoming another voice in a sea of noise.

  • James Mahoney

    Couple of thoughts: First and foremost, you spend your money where your target audience is most likely to see and be influenced by your advertising (or sponsorship).
    If you consider only the aspect of the cars or the hockey player in action, and think that those brief and speedy glimpses are the only exposure that sponsors on the car/uniform get, then it’s surely an ill-advised expenditure. But obviously, these fans are in the target demographic of the advertisers/sponsors. And just as obviously, photos, posters, magazine stories, etc., that show the cars and uniforms also show the sponsors. Since fans tend to scrutinize pretty much everything about the sports and the players/drivers they follow, then the sponsor gets wider and longer-term exposure than just the race or the game (and the associated television exposure from coverage of the event).
    Whether the value exceeds the cost (or at least equals it) is something for the advertiser to ascertain. Clearly, it must, otherwise they wouldn’t keep investing in it.
    As far as the Times Square shot is concerned, that’s a different story. Those ads aren’t flashing by momentarily, nor are they in fixed relationship to each other as they appear to be in photographs. For the advertisers, the demographics passing through Times Square must make sense. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be paying those rates for those positions.
    Now both of these justifications assume that advertisers have bought into the “value for money” argument, preferably by measuring it in any way they can as a proof-point. But certainly, some percentage of them are going on faith. Hence the adage (attributed to John Wanamaker), “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.”