Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Is it a brilliant marketing strategy or an act of utter desperation?
At a cost of $2.3 million for 30 seconds, Super Bowl commercials should have mass appeal to the legion of male couch potatoes. Some products – like beer, soda pop, pizza, and Viagra – are perfect sponsors.
But some products just don’t belong.
Several years ago, Gardenburger spent its entire annual marketing budget on a Super Bowl spot advertising its vegetarian hamburgers. As you might imagine, marketing meatless burgers to the nachos-and-pizza-roll crowd went over about as well as having Grandma jump out of a cake at a bachelor party.
Gardenburger’s stock peaked on the Friday before the Super Bowl and then slowly but surely wasted away to nothing.
This week, I’ll be keeping a close eye on shares of Garmin International (GRMN).
Sometime during the second quarter of the big game, Garmin will unveil the latest marketing effort for its portable navigation devices. The commercial features a lost motorist who struggles to unfold a map. The map turns into “Maposaurus” – a dreaded map monster that takes over the car and torments the lost motorist.
Another motorist, armed with a Garmin navigational device, morphs into a superhero and then battles and defeats the monster.
It’s an amusing commercial. But should it air during the Super Bowl?
I mean, how many of the directionally challenged among us will wipe the Cheeto dust off our fingers and rush out to spend a few hundred bucks so we won’t ever have to look at a map again? Somehow, I doubt it’ll be enough to recoup the $2.3 million worth of airtime.
And that leads to the bigger question... just how big is the market for portable navigation devices?
I have a GPS device built into my car. But honestly, the only time I've turned it on was when I accidentally hit the wrong button trying to change the radio station. And if I haven’t needed to use a GPS device while driving in my car, I can’t imagine a situation where I’ll need to carry a portable navigation device with me.
Furthermore, in addition to music and television, you can download directions right to your cell phone. Why would you crowd your pockets with a GPS device?
So is the decision to advertise during the Super Bowl a stroke of marketing genius? Or is it a “Hail Mary” pass thrown by a single-product company in a desperate attempt to capture a few additional sales before its device is rendered obsolete?
I guess we’ll know after next Sunday.
Best regards and good trading,
Strength in the steel sector... Steel Dynamics, Allegheny, AK Steel, Chaparral Steel, and Kaiser Aluminum at 52-week highs.
Major food producers Tyson and Dean Foods hit new highs.