Marketing and Scheduling
Thursday, June 22, 2006
FIFA does not allow advertisers selling their hardware during any World Cup match. This means that there are no interruptions throughout the whole game (except for the usual dive).
It's a good rule for everyone, expect for advertisers. Thus, the multi-million exclusive deals between FIFA and multinationals to advertise in the field--do you notice the back-boards full of MasterCard, Hyundai, and Budweiser logos?
We can't forget, of course, the swoosh, the feline, or three bars on the right side of every country's jersey. In addition to the zoom shots of those boots dribbling through 1, 2, and 3 defenders?
You can't buy better publicity than that. Actually, you can: sport companies pay countries to exclusively use their brand during every match, in the hopes that impressionable young minds (like mine) go out and buy those Nike Mercurial Vapor II. (I've actually read that those things give you crazy blisters.)
But I started this entry because I noticed something interesting in regards to the scheduling.
In Canada, the cup is being broadcasted in two sport stations: TSN and SportsNet. What I found peculiar is the schedule of every game, and I think marketers have a hand at play here.
You see, the afternoon games actually start at 3:00 PM, however, every game has been scheduled for 2:30 PM (and the last few days at 2:00 PM).
I think that because the networks can't break between games to display those Hyundai ads, they have scheduled
the matches before they actually start. It can be argued that the pre-match is important, hence, the 1 hour difference.
I fell for such scheme: on the weekend I showed up at my cousin's house to watch Brazil play at 11:00 AM, and, surprise, surprise the game started at 12:00 noon. Did they get me to watch those ads? They did. But I have caught on--I will not show up early anymore.
Note that this is pure speculation on my part, and perhaps a bit of cynicism derived from my Marketing lectures. If I were a marketer of these products, I would actually want viewers to start watching up to 60 minutes before the actual game, as the FIFA 2006 World Cup is the biggest event in the world, and the most watched--no other event compares to it.
(Note that I don't follow any professional sport's league so I don't know if it is "normal" to schedule games 1 hour in advanced. Maybe it is the norm and not the exception, as I think it is in this case.)