NAVIGATING THE LACE$ OF COLLEGE FTBLL’S CHMPN$HP GAME

C’mon let’s be REAL, the 1st D-1 College Football Championship game (from a playoff system) is NO BIG DEAL! Right? Surely, Mr Barton (for himself, Mr Rush & Mr McCaul) who introed HR 390 (below) to the US House of Representatives (on 1/9/09 to the Energy & Commerce Committee) felt like that! Right!

To prohibit, as an unfair and deceptive act or practice, the promotion, marketing, and advertising of ANY post-season NCAA Division I football game as a national championship game UNLESS such game is the culmination of a fair and equitable playoff system.”

NO BIG DEAL! NO BIG DEAL!!

T-1: TV Ad $pending for College Ftbll Playoff in Comparison

Event Year 30 sec of TV Ad (M) Audience Size (M) Cost per Viewer
NCAA B-Ball D1 Champ 2013 $1.42 23.4 6.07¢
NCAA B-Ball D1 Champ 2014 *$1.50 21.2 7.08¢
Super Bowl XLVII 2014 $4.00 111.5 3.58¢
Super Bowl XLIX 2015 $4.50 110.0 (estm) 4.09¢
BCS Championship 2014 $1.00 25.0 4.00¢
College Football Playoff 2015 $2.00 **25/50 4.00/8.00¢
*Estimation based on previous years’ 6% growth.
** 25 M is BCS audience from last yr. 50 M is the dream audience size.
Sources: Kantar Media & TVbytheNumbers; CBS Sports

T-1 tells ALL that the SB is the kingpin of sports advertising with $4M & $4½M for a 30 sec ad time (2014 & ’15 respectively) followed by the NCAA BB Chmnpshp game b/t $1¼M & $1½M (2013 & ’14). Next was the BCS Chmnpshp Game ($1M in 2014). Well guess what there is a NEW DEPUTY SHERIFF IN TOWN and he is pd $2M for 30 secs of ad time. In the past the audiences for the BCS (25 M in ’14) have been bigger than BB Chmnpshp. W/O horn tooting the NCAA is quietly hoping for a 50M sized viewership but will SMILE with a meager $35M for yr 1.

Ah yes, the majorettes’ drum beats over many, many yrs about a D-1 playoff have finally been heard. Prospective sponsors, marketers, advertisers and even federal legislators (above) have wanted for a long time and still want a piece of THE BIG GAME. It is arguably the most important college football game of ALL TIME (or at least for the 2014-15 season) How BIG is BIG? Well, All State has an extraordinary social media campaign that has rewritten the ad/ftball/social media playbook using Mr. Mayhem. Dr Pepper ads have been in prominence with Larry clearing shelves of DrP, laying claim to inventing the college playoff concept; fawning over the Chmnpshp Trophy, etc; and then of course, there is Ford’s very, very savvy decision to intro its new aluminum F-150 during the college playoffs including a championship game ad. This campaign and ad in essence disses the Super Bowl b/c Ford will NOT be Super Bowling with the F-150. Make no mistake about it, this 1st trip around the playoff dance floor will cause some missteps, but the Arthur Murray brand (nor any other brand) was built in a day, a season, or a yr, etc. We have seen a lot of scrambling for position, for connections and for co-branding cache. The prize is incredible. It is America’s YOUNG AFFLUENT MALES! This target is increasingly difficult to reach b/c they are so active, so involved and so-so-so preoccupied and (you guessed it) they don’t watch much TV, save live sports telecasts, AHA, GOTCHA! In many ways the college playoff system with THE BIG GAME is a much better fit than the deified, rarified Super Bowl. Frankly, THE BIG GAME is an unbelievable marketing dream. Yes, it’s more, much more of that Millennial Marketing Magic that will be delivered. As Michael Zuma (Aflac’s CMO) 25 mos ago said “Sports is the one anti-skip-the comm’l venue we have left” (S Vranica, USA 2 Day). Here, are some of the campaigns that have run as a prelude to THE BIG GAME and/or will run during THE BIG GAME!

  • Allstate Mr Mayhem new series of internet spots debuted on Nw Yrs Day. Mr M is a burglar, who uses social media to target his vacationing victims. He obtains their vacating info, burglarizes their home and sells their stuff, online. Allstate’s message is clear. Use social media at your own risk. The new campaign is also a public service message, “Project Aware Share” teaching people to use social media carefully.
  • AT&T released a handful of new TV ads featuring CFB analysts and mascots. For ex, 4 ftbll legends (Bo Jackson, Doug Flutie, Herschel Walker, and Joe Montana) excitedly sit down in a living room to watch THE BIG GAME. Flutie, Jackson & Walker strike the Heisman (they won) Montana replies to their poses, “what an accomplishment” chin rub with his hand that shows 5 SB rings on it… the other 3 stop their Heisman pose.
  • Dr Pepper’s deal includes a sponsorship of the nat’l championship trophy. Its sponsorship which leverages large partnerships with WalMart is called the “College Ftball Playbook”. It includes in store displays, ticket giveaways and a social media campaign.
  • ESPN had it’s “Who’s In (Who’s Out)” campaign about who is/was in the playoffs throughout the college ftbll season.
  • Reese’s has re-launched its Sticks at the College Fan Fest Event b-4 the Jan 12th game (THE BIG GAME). The brand also has a new TV ad featuring the playoff logo.
  • Taco Bell has created a “Live Mas Student Section” at the semis & THE BIG GAME. It is giving the biggest games back to its biggest fans, the students. It created the 1st ever “student sections”, 3000 seats at the playoff games including THE BIG GAME. (It sounds as though some of Taco Bell’s went to U of M during Dave Brandon regime).

For the interested, there are 15 official College Playoff sponsors. They are Allstate, AT&T, Capital One, Chick-fil-A, Direct TV, Dr. Pepper, Ford, Gatorade, General Motors, Goodyear, Nissan, Northwestern Mutual, Reese’s, Taco Bell & Vizio. (“Is the College Football Playoff the Next Brand Super Bowl? EJ Schultz, Ad Age)

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About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or bernacmd@udmercy.edu. Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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