March 08, 2008

Who's Responsible for This?

Thanks to guest blogger Roger Lewis for this advertising report from spring training.

Saturday in Southwest Florida was beautiful, and we were spending the day in Hammond Stadium watching the Twins play the Red Sox. After the third inning, most of the players you'd ever heard of were on the bench and the pitchers were having a hard time finding the strike zone.

It was then that the announcer said if any Twin player hit a home run off the RV North sign, everyone in the stands would receive $1,000 off a new RV (much laughter.) And I started looking at the advertising.

There are 28 ads in the outfield, 14 on each side of center. Here is the final count. Readable 4, readable with some effort 10, readable with binoculars 10, unknown message 4. So what I am saying is that 24 of 28 ads were bad and someone had to be responsible.

The national advertisers Pepsi and Macy's had single word large messages that were easy to read from 330 feet away. Metro PCS had so many words on their board that it took a few minutes to figure out what the message was. There was a board that read Beef Jerky with a brand name obscured in a jumble of red type and flame. My favorite was the one in the right field corner which was gold type on a white background. Even with binoculars it could not be read.

The rest were a smattering of local and national advertisers (car dealers, insurance company, banks, restaurants). With a combination of type styles and colors they rendered their messages useless.

I know that ball park sponsorships come with perks like tickets, parking and throwing out the first pitch. But why waste the opportunity to communicate with customers if you paid the money.

So was it the ad agency who designed something really artsy or the son-in-law on his home computer that developed these ads? And why did the client say yes? Didn't they think about someone trying to get their message from 330 feet? Sure the client knows where his ad is and can point it out to his friends in their free seats, but for most of us it was an opportunity wasted.

So shame on agencies, sons-in-law and clients who created such bad advertising and ruined my day.

By the way the Red Sox won 8-6.

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