Ad Space at the Next Level

Image courtesy of Union Coast's photostream. All rights reserved.

Ad space surrounds us continuously.    For well over a century, entrepreneurs and traditional businesspeople alike have been using the blank canvas of the world as a way to build branding.  From the local butcher posting a sign above their door in the early 1900’s to display their services, to the Pizza Hut delivery guy or gal with a sign on the roof of their car today, we are constantly inundated with advertising.  Not only are businesses attempting to create constant brand awareness but they’re also hoping to create trial.  The more aware you are of a brand, the more other people in your demographic (or a demographic you’d like to be in) legitimize the product or service the brand provides, the more likely you will be to give it a try.  If you’re on Facebook or Pinterest, and you see that 20 of your friends ‘Like’ a product, brand, or celebrity, chances are that you’ll like them to.  More or less, it’s word of mouth advertising but with a twist.  The format has changed slightly, from water-cooler conversation to mobile sharing but the concept is the same.  Monkey see, monkey do.  And most of us are clicking ‘Like’ or re-pinning at a feverish pace.

The same can be said for celebrities.  If your favorite celeb is doing an endorsement with Pepsi, but you’re a Coke guy, it is conceivable that you might give Pepsi another try based on the endorsement alone.  It can be argued that the witty content of the campaign convinced you to make the temporary switch but it can also be argued the celebrity backing the brand is what caught your eye.  My theory: it’s a combination of the two plus placement, timing and mood.  For consumable products, point of purchase is the biggest killer for me personally.  I can’t resist a Snickers when exiting my local grocer.  Gets me every time.

While social media is the biggest player in town, we’re still creatures of habit.  Soccer clubs in Europe have been advertising on their jerseys for decades.  It was adopted almost immediately by Major League Soccer, and it seems that jersey advertising is soon to hit the National Basketball Association.  The NBA’s commissioner, David Stern, is setting up a deal to increase revenue for the league by $100 million annually.  As expected there is some backlash by fans but the arguments are falling on mute ears…and for good reason.  According to this, the cons noted are that ‘Some fans may dislike the sponsor,’ and ‘Some say the NBA is selling out.’  While the NBA does need to continually build its public image, and not alienate fans on a global level, the arguments being publicized don’t hold a valid business argument in the slightest.  Look at the English Premier League.  Their jersey sales are comparable to the NBA.  All the while the EPL jerseys are sold including the sponsor across the entire chest of the garment.  The proposed NBA advertising space is set to be a 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” space just above the heart which should not interfere with the team name or any other in-place logos. Join in the conversation on Twitter – #NoUniAds

Let’s take it one step further.  In this article, it is noted that many Olympians will be sporting advertising by way of temporary tattoos during the 2012 games in London.  Not only will this be for business but some pleasure as well.  Many foundations and philanthropic causes will also be displayed for the world to see. starts by asking if it’s crazy or brilliant for a small marketing firm to advertise on a pro runners shoulder.  Regardless of the $11,000 price tag, not only will the runner sport it at the Olympics this year but it’s also a cover story on their website.

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