Promoting the promotion

Rounding a corner, I saw a billboard for baseball’s Home Run Derby, a sideshow attraction at the All Star Game.

Turns out that the billboard was paid for by State Farm Insurance, also the sponsor of the Derby itself.

This is how far we’ve come, how low we’ve sunk.

An insurance company is sponsoring a baseball stunt to push its brand name out there. And then, with nothing whatsoever to say about itself, or about us, or about how it can help us achieve our goals, the company spends more money to promote the promotion.

Promotions work when they’re seen as generous or unique or tied into our needs and dreams. They also work as brand builders when they’re so ubiquitous we associate the brand with the event itself. But if I had written "Allstate" instead of "State Farm," would you have realized the error? Doubtful.

Here’s my number one fiduciary rule for big brand marketers: The executives involved in approving a sports or entertainment promotion should not be permitted to attend the event.