by Kate Brodock on 11 January 2008

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I’ve got to make a comment on a topic that’s been driving me batty for years, and that’s over-advertising.

My main question is if there is a point at which the in-your-face, hammering advertising that’s been occurring the past few years with sponsorships will reach a point (and, in some cases, I’m sure it has reached this point) at which consumers will ultimately backlash against a brand because it’s crossed the line between tactful and intrusive.

I decided I would address this after watching the LSU/Ohio game on Saturday night.  During halftime, there was an alumni field goal kick-off, the winner of which would get a scholarship for his respective school (actually, both got the scholarship).

Once the kick was done, one of the kickers said into the mic “Oh, this was great fun, a great day, Allstate has put on a great show here,” or something to that effect.  I sort of just let out a big sigh.

The thing that gets me is that Allstate might have helped make the stadium a little nicer, and provide the schools with a scholarship that will obviously be named the Allstate Scholarship (I think it was Allstate, but now I’m not even sure), but that game could have been in a high school football stadium in the middle of a corn field and every single person there would have still had an absolutely awesome time.  Allstate didn’t put on a good show, the players put on a good show.  Allstate wouldn’t even have an opportunity for exposure if those two teams hadn’t played their butts off all season.

Main point: the sponsors go overboard.  In this case (and it can be applied to many more), not only was every other commercial an Allstate commercial, and not only does the netting behind the goal  have a huge Allstate behind it, or Allstate paraphernalia flies around the whole stadium, but they actually coached the guy before the interview, to throw Allstate in there.  As if it wasn’t so blatantly obvious that it was sponsored by Allstate that you had to tell us once more?  They didn’t know when to stop.

The other problem I have with this sort of thing in general is not only how audible the sponsorship is, but how visible as well.  I watch the Kentucky Derby every single year, I have since I could understand TV (actually, probably before that).  About two years ago now there was a proposal to put advertisements on the jersey of the jockey.  I almost cried.  In fact, I might have.

There is something so traditional and untouched about the event that was going to just be ruined if that were to happen.  And I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

This type of thing happens all the time.  If I go to the symphony, all of a sudden the symphony hall has been renamed into the “Bank of America blah blah blah.”

Every opportunity to say something about the brand or bring attention to it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to.  To use a general business school analogy, volume of production doesn’t always equal success.  You have to take into account your distribution channels, your customers and consumers, and value your product provides.

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