Feared advertising cuts for World Cup 2010

The biggest event in all of sports has nearly arrived, and no, it is not the Super Bowl. The 2010 FIFA World Cup hosted in South Africa, will take place this summer, and even soccer isn’t without its fair share of marketing strategies. FIFA has branded itself in a very distinct way that has influenced athletes and spectators for years. However, it has been a long four years since the last World Cup, and the economy has certainly changed.

The usual advertisers and sponsors such as Nike, Addidas, Coca Cola and McDonalds have had reservations about advertising strategies this year. Usually, companies begin producing soccer paraphernalia months to years in advance.  This is in compliance with World Cup advertising campaigns that do not allow for last minute decision making. Athlete sponsors are also arranged months previous to the event to ensure the effective selling of products. 

According to an article on ESPN, the problem advertisers are encountering this year is that they cannot guarantee efforts in marketing will actually generate high sales. This is a legitimate concern that companies such as Castrol have taken into consideration. This company created Castrol Performance Index, which is a “quantitative analysis that computes an efficiency rating for each player during each match of the current European qualifying campaign.”  In order to effectively market this proposal, Castrol also recently announced the signing of FIFA soccer player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo as a global ambassador. Selling is further guaranteed using this strategy because the player will simply self promote the product.

So as the World Cup draws closer, the feared drop in advertising spending may go one of two ways:

  1. Advertisers will continue to spend, realizing the World Cup still is and always will be a great opportunity to reach potential customers.
  2. Advertisers will choose to limit and reduce their campaigns, resulting in a serious decline of World Cup ad-related spending.

Whichever direction advertisers decide to turn, this year’s World Cup will be unlike any other year, pioneering new strategies and tactics for marketing campaigning.

Here is a MasterCard commercial from the 2006 World Cup.

Nicole Doherty, designer

Stephanie Saulsbury, writer

Lacey Inman, researcher

New avenues for social capital?

With businesses pinching pennies and thousands looking for jobs its no wonder Skype has become a valuable tool in corporate operations, such as the interviewing process. This video chat software offers an inexpensive, low hassle way to meet potential employees, as well as to communicate with current employees. Many companies, such as Zappos.com and Maxim Integrated Products, use Skype as their internal phone system. Companies have employees speaking through their computer speakers and telephones, visually through the web cameras, and exchanging instant messages and documents. Maxim Integrated Products saved $200,000 on long distance calls using Skype, and $2 million annually.

Companies have now found ways to integrate Skype into marketing themselves as accessible. Many small business owners report that Skype helps them stay connected with their clients and allows them to meet at anytime necessary. Businesses have also claimed it increases productivity and stimulates the creative environment. Skype also helps expand small business clientele geographically, which, without the use of Skype, is typically a financial burden.

Skype has not only helped small businesses get ahead, but has also played a large role in connecting networks of families, friends and colleagues, which could increase social capital. However, according to Putnam, the Internet decreases social capital. Perhaps in some cases this is true, but for many, social networking platforms have opened a whole new social capital opportunity to millions of users. Regardless of the debate, it is clear that Skype continues to open up new avenues for businesses, family and communities.

Rachel Kaylor, Writer

Danielle Murray, Researcher

Mandy Baker, Designer

Pro Tweets

“With the 5th overall pick, the New York Jets select…” too late, Commissioner Goodell the New York Jets have already announced their pick via Twitter. This was the case at the 2009 NFL Draft held in New York City where the Jets actually tweeted their first overall selection of Mark Sanchez before the commissioner even took the podium. This is just the one of many ways in which the Twitter phenomena has taking over the world of sports entertainment.  

Athletes from all forms of professional sports – NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL and others – are on board the Twitter train. Athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal (@THE_REAL_SHAQ), Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong) and Serena Williams (@serenajwilliams) are among the top followed professional athletes according to Twitter-Athletes. These professional athletes, highly acclaimed in their respective sports, have over a million followers each.

So why are there so many followers of these athletes? Why would millions of fans seek to connect with their favorite sport idols in this mean of social media? The answer may be found in psychology. According to Indiana psychology professor Edward Hirt on SI.com, “Sports permit people to bask in reflected glory.” If they are fans of the winner, then they will feel like winners. Whether this glory is imagined or not, it feels personal when a fan is able to connect with the big-time athletes as Twitter permits. “It’s not really personal, but it feels kind of personal” according to Hirt. Twitter, in essence, forms a stronger connection between the common Joe and their favorite pro because it offers a behind-the-scenes look into the everyday lives of a professional athletes, something that is not availabe in post-game press conferences.

In some aspects, Twitter has created a whole new social community. At one time the only way fans were able to follow their favorite athletes was on the field or court of play. Now, they can actually see into the lives and minds of athletes. Twitter has actually taken over the usual mean of fandom like fan clubs and web pages dedicated to specific players and athletes. They form a direct line of communication between the stars and their fans. Not only are fans able to show their enthusiam of sport stars by following them, but they can actually include them in their own posts with Twitter’s link feature. Athletes in turn are able to link a fan’s tweet as well. Warren Sapp (QBKILLA), NFL All-Pro defensive end, does this constantly like many of his other professional colleagues.

The athletes themselves, too, reap the rewards of having a social media network like Twitter to express their thoughts and feelings. According to Sean Gregory and his article about the Twitter craze, it is the best form of “No-contact contact.” It allows them to speak and connect with their fans without having to go out into the public spotlight where they would be hassled by the common folk. Twitter also allows for athletes to speak without having other media outlets to speak for them. It is the whole idea of message control, according to St. Louise Rams running back Steven Jackson. “I’ll be able to say my piece instead of allowing different media outlets to portray me how they want to portray me” said Jackson.

Twitter has become a powerful tool in social media. In terms of professional sports, it has become a channel for news, information and even entertainment. After reading a few posts by Shaquille O’Neal, one would definitely find the entertainment value. Whether or not the trend of following big-name professional athletes through Twitter continues remains a questions. It must be noted that Twitter has definitely changed the aspect of athlete/fan interaction.    

-Jesse Bazemore

Are Your Tweets Oscar Worthy?

Mark your calendars everyone! The 2nd Annual Shorty Awards are coming up! This aptly named award show celebrates the effective, efficient and successful use of the Twitter user’s 140-character tweets to best represent the powerful use of Social Media and Social Networking. The Twitter website declares “The Shorty Awards honor the best people and organizations on Twitter. These unique awards are for the Twitter community by the Twitter Community.”

The 2010 ceremony will be held in New York City during the month of March, This year’s ceremony is already predicted to show support for organizations and individuals and their role in using Twitter to highlight the issues in Haiti and the rapid aid and assistance it then brought about. Haiti resident and TV personality Carel Pedre is the standout nominee, thus far having 163 nominations in five different categories. According to CNN “His twitter site has become a virtual clearing house for aid agencies and those seeking urgent help.” His social network site and social media effects seen on Twitter have placed him at the number five spot of the “#innovation” category of the award show.

Betty Draper, the fictional housewife in the popular hit  “Mad Men ,” along with some of the rest of its characters were big winners during 2009 show.  Other fictional stars who were big winners last year are also expected to continue their success this year.  To many users approval however, the Haiti Twitter-er is projected to make a big impact on and dent into this years ceremony. Any Twitter user can vote for, nominate and or campaign for any of the chosen nominees.

So although the highlights of this  award show will not be the best or worst dressed, the entertaining performances, or the comedic host, this new and renovating award show will prove to further the influence, use and importance of Social Media.

-Shannon Meadows

Pepsi’s Super Bowl Strategy

Every year, millions of people tune in to watch the Super Bowl. Some are watching because their team is playing for the title, others are watching simply for the love of the game and the rest are watching for the entertainment provided by the infamous Super Bowl commercials. Millions of dollars are spent on commercial time during the game. Last year, companies paid $3 million for every 30-second spot. This year, the price has gone down to as low as $2.5 million for a 30-second spot, reflecting the current economy.

While the cost is lower than last year, some big companies have decided not to run ads during the Super Bowl at all this year. The game, scheduled to air on February 7 on CBS, will not be showing ads by FedEx, General Motors or Pepsi. This is the second consecutive year that FedEx has chosen to not buy any ad spots, and GM spokesman Tom Henderson said, “We are going to focus our resources in other areas.”

According to The Huffington Post, “Pepsi was one of the biggest advertisers in last year’s game and has advertised every year since 1987.” But Pepsi’s reason for not running any ads this year is different from the other companies’ reasons. Instead of buying ad spots during the Super Bowl, Pepsi is running a social media campaign that started January 13. The Pepsi Refresh Project is a community-based campaign that allows people to nominate and vote for the community service project, charity, small business, nonprofit organization or anything else that most voters would like to see receive financial support from Pepsi. There will be up to $1.3 million in grants distributed each month to the winning nominees.

As social media continues to grow, many businesses are finding ways to use the different mediums to reach potential and current customers. According to a recent article on SunSentinel.com, companies such as Zappos.com and Best Buy are utilizing social media outlets like Twitter to help them better reach their customers. So is Pepsi trying to do the same thing? Are they simply trying to be smarter with their money during this rough economy, or are they moving in a new direction with their marketing strategies?

If Pepsi is moving their marketing strategies in a new direction, is the Super Bowl the smartest time to do so? According to Fran Kelly, chief executive at Arnold Worldwide, in an article on Boston.com, many companies are not buying ad times during the Super Bowl because it is too expensive. She said, “For a lot of our big clients that are advertising year round, they don’t want to spend the time or money to do a Super Bowl ad.”

But according to Andrew Graff, chief executive of Allen & Gerritsen and chairman of The Ad Club of Boston, “Viewers don’t skip over the Super Bowl spots.’’

Many people don’t watch every day commercials; they leave the room, mute the TV or fast forward through them with today’s technology. It is highly unlikely that anyone is ever going to be fast forwarding through the Super Bowl commercials. So the question is, if Pepsi is trying to save money, should they pull their regular commercials that run every other time during the year and save the money for Super Bowl ads when more viewers are basically guaranteed to watch? But, if instead of saving money they are trying to generate attention around what they are doing in place of running ads during the Super Bowl, their new strategy has a chance of being successful.

Nicole Doherty

The Not So “Private” Facebook

With the new privacy settings on Facebook even more of us are in denial that people on the outside can view our private information. Many believe that when you utilize the privacy features on Facebook, including restricting the search options for yourself, you are in control of who sees that information. Well you could be wrong, and it could be more than just a future employer analyzing your information.

Recently a marketer who wishes to know more about their cliental base, created a targeted marketing strategy or profit from selling the rights to this information which can now be used with Facebook. According to Ryan Singel of CNN.com, marketers can take advantage of a feature on Facebook intended for its users to find their friends by scanning through their email addresses in the feature known as “friend finder.” Marketers can take a list of email addresses they have collected and run them through this feature. Voila! Now they can see your full name, age, friends, gender, job and even location. Next they can even process all that data and make inferences about race, hobbies and sexual orientation. This would be a dream tool to any marketers to gain an even more inside look into their customers and their needs.

Many users have tried to restrict who can search for them through the search privacy options, but if your email address is known they can view the rest of your profile, which is now considered public information by Facebook. This information includes your name, current city, picture and networks. Facebook says it is working hard to find scammers and setting a limit on the number of email addresses that can be run through friend finder by an individual.  The site also says it encourages people to monitor their profile and adjust their privacy settings accordingly.

As of now it is unclear whether or not marketers have taken advantage of this outlet, but it would be very hard to know for certain.

-Jessica Smith

Is “doing-for” a form of social capital after all?

With $112 million and counting in contributions to Haiti via the sacred text message number “90999,” it is no wonder thousands are praising cell phone technology, which has now proven itself as a successful tool in mobilization. CNN.com reported that during the “first 48 hours of the campaign, the amount of money raised was greater than the Red Cross brought in during similar periods after Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami disasters.”  Red Cross spokeswoman Carrie Housman claimed it was a viral phenomenon that had 10 year olds pledging to help.

Even with all of these hard-hitting numbers of good will, nothing is perfect. Scams raged ramped, rumors were “tweeted” and continue to circulate. Phone companies were praised and then quickly bashed when word was received they would not donate their customer’s pledged money for a length of 90 days. Verizon quickly refuted this issue on Friday by immediately sending a check for the $3 million donated.

As Americans continue to text donations, it is evident that ease and accessibility are the key components in this campaign. Donations can be made any time and anywhere, and perhaps most importantly, without hassle. These simple components instigated a viral reaction, which accelerated exponentially through support of a number of companies, celebrities, and the White House. Text messaging served as the easiest most accessible outlet for Americans to react as the media continued to shock and awe through photographs, video-clips and news updates.

Perhaps this new mobile technology is one of the new ways we are engaging Putnam’s social capital. Though this act of texting-to-donate is “doing-for,” where can the line be drawn when “doing-with” is not feasible?  If what people need more than physical help is money, who’s to say that “doing-for” is not the same as going to Haiti in person? Perhaps, in this case, “doing-for” during a new age of mobility will change the way America views “helping.” In referring to the text-to-donate phenomenon, Jeffrey Nelson, executive director for corporate communications at Verizon Wireless declared, “This is the new paradigm in philanthropy.”

Visit the Red Cross’ twitter page to follow updates on what they need to help!

Putnam, R. D. (2000). Altruism, Volunteering, and Philanthropy. In Bowling Alone.

-Rachel Kaylor, Writer

-Danielle Murray, Research

-Mandy Baker, Design