Tag Archives: football

Engaging with the Big Game

There is no question that I will be engaged in the Super Bowl this weekend.  In fact, it has been on my radar for weeks.  The question is exactly how will I choose to engage?

  • Old School —  Just enjoy the game for the game’s sake.  As a native Pittsburgher with fond memories of the Steel Curtain, swirling terrible towels, and chanting “One for the Thumb,” it’s a logical choice.
  • Facebook Fanatic – Participating in the virtual cheers and jeers that are bound to continue between my Facebook friends who have been posting images of Steeler cheese graters, “Stairway to 7” slogans and other signs of their team affiliations for the past several weeks.
  • Professional – As a 20-year veteran of the advertising and marketing world, there is the obligation to analyze every commercial so that I am prepared to debate the winners and losers with family, friends and colleagues on Monday morning.
  • Twitter Tags – And there is always the appeal of the Twitter buffet of 140-character musings on everything from the plays, the refs, and the commercials to the Polamalu  vs. Matthews “Hair Bowl.”

The truth is, I will probably engage with the Super Bowl in all these ways, as each appeals to me on a different level.

As a marketer, it is also a good reminder that target audiences are multidimensional and will choose to engage with brands and messages in a variety of different ways with different expectations – sometimes all at the same time.  Communications plans need to be as multidimensional as they are.

Pamela J. Alvord – EVP, Managing Director of Strategy and Operations

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Office Pools – the epitome of compelling, measurable engagement

It’s been said that U.S. employers lose an estimated $1.8 billion in productivity during March Madness.  What is it about office pools that not only drives employees to spend so much time planning, watching, and discussing, but also drives employers to look the other way?

Whether it’s “March Madness,” college football bowl pools, or even the weekly football pick ’em, office pools are a compelling form of entertainment that provides an office common ground in a friendly, competitive environment.

The days of copying a sheet of paper and turning it in to the office pool manager have succumbed to the digital age.  One only has to type ”office pool” into Google to see page upon page of office pool variations with free and pay-to-play websites and software.  Many of these websites and software provide tips and post-pick analytics in real time, so that everyone can see the results and how they rank against the competition.

It’s a time when the office sports geeks and sports agnostics are on the same wavelength, as employees become more engaged with one another.  Water-cooler talk turns from gossip to last night’s upset and today’s Cinderella.

Maybe employers look the other way because it’s an easy way to improve employee morale, or maybe it’s just because they’re in on the action, too.  Regardless, it’s easy to see why something as compelling, measurable, and engaging as office pools continue in the work environment.

With that, feel free to join us in some compelling, measurable engagement by participating in the 2010 Kilgannon College Bowl Pool.  It’s free to play, and you could win a gift card.

— Gary Sayers, VP, Account Director

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Super Bowl XLIV: Top 10 Commercials

The usual suspects made their appearance in yesterday’s Super Bowl, and I’m not talking about Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne.  There were the expected Budweiser and Bud Light Super Bowl spots, as well as a few spots from E*TRADE that could make anyone chuckle.  One thing seemed new, however.  There were a few good car spots, two of which ended up in my Super Bowl XLIV top 10.  To see some of these favorite spots, just click on the link.

Anyone who watches football on a weekly basis is used to seeing the typical Ford F-150, “look how much weight I can pull up a ramp” or “check out our great lease price on a Toyota Camry” spots.  However, this Super Bowl lineup was different for a few automobile makers.  KIA, Audi and Dodge took a right turn at Humorous and Light-Hearted, and may have broken the mold for automobile commercials.

KIA’s stuffed animals road trip was an instant classic, with a late reveal of the KIA Sorento only after the vehicle’s toy inhabitants had gotten a taste of life, road-tripping the country with a stop in Vegas.

Audi struck a chord with their Green Police clean diesel spot.  It was a very timely, cute spot that could draw a hush across any Super Bowl party.  The end button of the Green Police pulling over a cop for drinking out of a foam cup seals the deal and gives it a place in this year’s top 10.

And finally, while the Dodge and Volkswagen spots didn’t exactly make my top 10, they still made a departure from the standard car spot.  Dodge employed the stereotypical, “look what the guy has to do for his wife to let him have a Charger.” Stereotypical for a beer spot maybe, but not for an automobile spot, which is why I give Dodge credit.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen made me reminisce for a minute with their Punch Dub spot, ending nicely with a clever Stevie Wonder/Tracy Morgan cameo.

What did these four automobile spots have in common that made them stand out and receive a thumbs up?  They used humor and had a nice reveal.  I didn’t have to watch 30 seconds of smiling family driving through the city, desert or on a winding road by the sea.  Nice.  Maybe these four brands will pave the way for automobile companies down the road.

With that, my top 10 Super Bowl XLIV spots below.  Feel free to agree, disagree or send along your top 10.

10. E*TRADE – First Class

9. kgb – Sumo Bring it on fat man

8. CareerBuilder

7. E*TRADE – Milkaholic

6. Bud Light – Book Club

5. Audi – Green Police

4. Emerald’s Nuts/Pop Secrets – Trained Humans

3. Google – Parisian Love

2. Snickers – Betty White

1. KIA Sorento – Stuffed Animal Road Trip

— Gary Sayers, VP Account Director

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Counterpoint from a Football Fan Who Is Also an Ad Guy…

I’ve been a die-hard fan of the Buffalo Bills since the age of five (no jokes, please).  I’ve been playing in multiple fantasy leagues for the past 17 years (I even played fantasy XFL for that one fateful season – no jokes, please).  I can beat pretty much anyone at Madden.  I’ve been to hundreds of games and numerous Super Bowls.  I love football.

I’ve been in the advertising industry since the day I left college.  I knew this was what I wanted to do for a living since the age of five.  I’ve worked in big agencies and small ones.  New York, and not New York.  I get a rush from solving client challenges and when a campaign succeeds.  I love advertising.

So, the Super Bowl should be the ultimate day for me.  The perfect blend of football and advertising… on the highest level.  Sadly, it isn’t.

Sure, the last two games were phenomenal.  But most aren’t that good.  In fact, the average margin of victory in the first 43 Super Bowl games was almost 15 points.

The commercials are the same way.  Most are disappointing.  Maybe one out of every 20 is a good one.  Don’t get me wrong – there have been some classic Super Bowl spots.  Everyone remembers Mean Joe Greene, 1984, Where’s The Beef, The Frogs, Monks, and the Jordan vs. Bird Showdown.  You don’t even have to say what brands these spots were for.  Everyone remembers.  But all of them ran at least 15 years ago!

Lately, the commercials have been terrible.  I can only think of four spots over the past 10 years that I truly thought were excellent spots (interestingly, all of them use one or more of the so-called keys to a memorable Super Bowl spot – humor, sex, violence, animals, or kids):

EDSHerding Cats (2000)

ReebokTerry Tate: Office Linebacker (2003)

E-TradeMoney out the Wazoo (2000) and Baby Talk (2008)

Sorry to say that I am anticipating another dud this Sunday.  For everyone’s sake, I hope I’m wrong.  The good news is that, either way, everyone will debate the highs, lows, and key plays of the game… and which ads were the best!

– Stephen Weinstein – Director of Account Management

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Ad Agency Sleepers

Unless you’ve been living in a cave this Millennium, you’ve heard of fantasy football. While you may not play it, appreciate it, or understand all the rules, you know it exists. An FX television show, The League, has even been created to mock this season-long event that has become a part of popculture.

There are a variety of fantasy football leagues, but the premise is simple: pick NFL football players at various positions to make up your fantasy team. Your chosen players’ performance in real life is how your fantasy team performs. If your fantasy team scores more than your opponent’s fantasy team, you win. Boiling it down, the team with the most wins, wins the league.

Most everyone who plays fantasy football knows who to draft. They are the superstars. You know who I’m talking about: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, etc. However, the fantasy teams that win may have a superstar, but many also have a “sleeper” or two. A sleeper is a lesser-known NFL player a participant correctly predicts to have a breakout season. The whole point of selecting a sleeper is to give owners a competitive edge with lesser-known players and a better return on investment. Sleepers are a good buy and are the difference makers in any fantasy league.

So, how do fantasy football sleepers relate to advertising, and why should you care? Well, sleepers can be found among advertising agencies, as well. You likely have a basic knowledge of the well-known agencies. You know who they are and their characteristics. They are entrenched in traditional media. They are group owned. They take a long time to get things done, and they bill at really expensive rates. And, you generally get what you pay for, which is good work.  Return on investment: even…at best.

The sleeper agency is the antithesis of the traditional agency mentioned above. It is an agency that may excel in one particular area that fits your category and business model exactly, as opposed to being something for everyone. It is an agency you may not have heard of, but you’ve found by taking your time to research and learn what each agency does well. It may be an agency like Kilgannon that establishes specific objectives and metrics, with a scorecard evaluation, for each campaign or project. Or, it could be an agency that specializes specifically on promotions and driving product trial. By taking the time to learn more about each agency’s strengths, you’ll be in a much better position. Return on investment: the sky’s the limit.

So next time you’ve got a project, challenge yourself. You don’t need to be selecting a new AOR. Do a little research, try out an agency on a project basis, and see if you can discover a sleeper agency to get the competitive edge and return on investment that you need in today’s dog-eat-dog world.

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