Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Sidevertising": Revolutionizing Sports Marketing

Whether or not you enjoyed the athletic massacre that was the UEFA Euro 2012 final, there is something that every marketer can appreciate about the world’s most popular sport: sidevertising. For a whole ninety minutes – or more, if it’s a good match – companies who run advertisements on the sideline barriers (“sidevertising”) have the unwavering attention of millions of viewers every match, and in the case of the UEFA Final, over 300 million.

But spectators watching the final on T.V. (or online) on Sunday missed more than just an evenly-matched game; they missed out on one of the most revolutionary technological advancements in the field of sports advertising: Digital Billboard Replacements.

Now, if we assume that no two consumers are exactly alike, then no two consumers should receive the exact same advertisement, right? Sure, but the bitter truth of marketing is that such a level of personalization is virtually unattainable. Digital Billboard Replacement is a creative compromise: it allows broadcasting networks to show advertisements that change based on the country in which viewers are watching the match. (To see an example, check out this video of the 2011 FA Cup Semi-Final – see the Beko ad at 0:16). How does it work? Finnish developer Supponor applies a layer of special film on the billboards that broadcast cameras can specifically target. Advertisers then use that hardware to customize advertisements for different viewerships.

Using DBR, advertisers can now send the same message in different languages, or in the case of multi-national companies, advertise different products in their relative countries of commerce. And since any billboard can be retrofitted with Supponor’s technology, DBR will inevitably redefine sports advertising as we know it. It is technology’s next step toward the advertopia that is completely-personalized marketing.
So why did DBR take the bench on Sunday instead of making its largest appearance yet? I am assuming a simple answer: it hasn’t been tested enough to guarantee error-free execution for an event of that broadcasting magnitude. I can only imagine how quickly DBR would have gotten the red card had it failed after networks had collected millions of dollars in advertising revenue.

But apparently, the future is bright; Supponor and Sports Revolution claim that we are just a few short months away from a fully-functioning system. Can you imagine the implications?! What if DBR were able to customize messaging for the nearly 5 billion viewers of the 2016 Olympics? Or if viewers could pre-register for specific types of advertisements?

Whatever the future specifically holds, I don’t see DBR sitting on the sidelines for long. I see it revolutionizing them.

How do you see DBR changing advertising in the future?

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