The advertising arena: how to make major sponsorships count

Socially Smart - Jon Waldman
Socially Smart – Jon Waldman

As 2014 fades into our memories, it’s important to look ahead to what’s coming up in Winnipeg in the coming months, and boy are we going to be busy.
2015 will see the Women’s World Cup and the CFL’s Grey Cup coming to town, and just a couple short months into 2016, the NHL’s Heritage Classic will come as well.
Now, of course, big advertising opportunities come with these events, but should caution be thrown to the wind for the sake of exposure? Not necessarily.
There are two realities that come to mind when it comes to these large-scale advertisements:
1. You are going to get more eyeballs in a concentrated area than you will in most other situations (so long as they’re not distracted by trivial things, like say, the action on the field or ice); and
2. You’re competing for said eyeballs. Big events require big sponsorship dollars to be considered financial successes (or at least break-evens), so expect a wide variety of ad placements to be available, but not to have much luck when it comes to having exclusivity in an area.
So what does this mean for your ad dollars? Essentially, unless you’re going into one of these events with more of an eye toward the more beautiful cause of wanting to lend support to an event or sport, you’re probably better off spending your ad budget elsewhere.
A happy medium
One of the keys to advertising, of course, is location. Another is location. The other… yeah, you guessed it: location.
But the key to advertising is not to just jump in headfirst into the biggest spot where you’re going to be found. Not every company who advertises during the Super Bowl gets the return on investment (ROI) they seek.
Essentially, what you want to look for is a spot that isn’t too crowded, yet has a significant number of viewers. Call it the Mendoza Line of Promotion (and yes, this is another sports reference).
The Mendoza Line originated in baseball and is named for Mario Mendoza, a player whose batting average was taken as the dividing line between a good hitter and a bad hitter.
In this case, the Mendoza promotional line (or, if you prefer, the Promodoza Line) is the spot between a good ad opportunity and a bad opportunity.
Let’s take a couple examples here: putting ads on a bus that runs along Portage Avenue may seem like a great idea since you have a great number of eyes potentially seeing you, but look at the number of distractions: billboards, storefronts, cops… yeah, you’re not likely going to get the attention you seek.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, then, would be somewhere like East St. Paul. Not as many distractions, yes – but not as many travelers (at least in winter).
So where you want to be instead is somewhere that’s going to get the traffic count without all the distractions. St. James was great for this in the days when sports stadiums ruled the area because of the long stretches of land that had little to no ads. Thus, bus ads would have been a great opportunity, since they’d be stationary outside said venues for long periods while fans walked across parking lots and sidewalks to get to the games.
Ultimately, the ad game is an arena you need to approach with caution. Do lots of research first, rather than just jumping in – otherwise, you may experience a letdown even in a promising location.
Jon Waldman is a marketing strategist with Cohesive Marketing. To learn more about the services the company offers, call 204-992-6400 or visit

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