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A Little Mystery and Intrigue Accompanies Apple Card Introduction

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Flashy introductions touting world shattering, high-tech, gee whiz, holy cow demonstrations of almost magical performance have been the typical approach of Apple when revealing their newest products. The flash of the reveal has consistently been trumped only by loyal consumers’ responses. The recent introduction of Apple’s foray into the financial services sector was expected to be received with the typical enthusiasm awarded to past product introductions, but the initial response has fallen short of expectations. Perhaps it is the usual, ho-hum response typically afforded product introductions from the financial industry. Let’s face it, financial products generally are not described as sexy and disruptive.

Apple’s long-awaited introduction of the “Apple Card” made its debut with the company’s usual flare and promise. The effort is a partnership with Goldman Sachs, who is making its first offering in the credit card world, and MasterCard. Apple Card is built into the Apple Wallet app on iPhone, offering customers a familiar experience with Apple Pay and the ability to manage their card right on iPhone. While Apple is playing up the card’s benefits of no annual or late fees, no over the limit fees or international surcharges, the card’s cash back features have been described as underwhelming by critics and early consumers. The interest rates, dependent upon a cardholder’s qualifications, appear to be in-line with the current financial industry’s best offerings. The card does not contain a credit card number, expiration date or CVV security code, instead featuring facial and touch identity capabilities. The card is tied to Apple Pay, a service that lets people load banking information and pay in store or use it for purchases online. It works globally where Apple Pay is accepted, lets users track spending in the Wallet app, and focuses on transaction privacy.

But the new offering may be destined to receive a similar response from consumers as Apple Pay. First introduced five years ago, Apple Pay has struggled to capture a modest two percent of the credit transaction market dominated by MasterCard and Visa.  “It’s just easier to use card payments,” said Harshita Rawat, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. “Mobile payments need to evolve their value proposition to get consumers to switch from their plastic card payments. This new offering Apple Card is a step towards that but it needs to evolve even further.” Apple appears to be banking on the new Apple Card and the “Z” generation to boost Apple Pay acceptance. Jeff Fromm, author of “Marketing to Gen Z” and a partner at agency Barkley, says, “Gen Z is going to ‘hashtag’ Apple love this card.”

Whether on a revolutionary or evolutionary path, the Apple Card is already having an impact on the established players in the credit card market. Competitors are investigating advantages like privacy protection, no card numbers and advanced security features. And while credit cards may not be sexy, there is a certain amount of cool factor to the Apple Card for all those loyal Apple fans. “Although the Apple card’s rewards aren’t too exciting, it might bring more value to its already loyal customers in the form of convenience and security,” says Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at finance site WalletHub. “When using the card via Apple Pay, users will quickly be able to see where and how they spend their money without the use of a third-party app.”

For Apple, the journey into a field less traveled and experienced contains more than a little mystery and intrigue. Will the brand’s magical touch of the past be repeated? It appears that even for a veteran like Apple, only time will tell.

Look Out! After Some Tweaking, Subscription Service Might Just Work Here

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Once the relatively sole purview of magazines, cable TV and book of the month clubs, subscription business models are now popping up all over. Software, once purchased and installed on one computer at a time and repurchased when a new version became available, is quickly being replaced by monthly subscriptions. Ownership of the product remains with the provider and access is subscribed to consumer users over time. The expansion of subscription service is being driven mainly by advances in technology where barriers to forming and maintaining ongoing consumer/marketer relationships are eased or eliminated.

For a monthly fee, consumers can now contract with providers for everything from personal care, fitness, movies and entertainment to financial services. Many believe that the larger market is seeing the beginning of the end of personal ownership. A McKinsey report found that the value of online subscriptions rose from $57 million in 2011 to $2.6 billion in 2016. While the subscription e-commerce market has grown by more than 100% percent a year over the past five years, the growth of the model has been accompanied by a significant amount of trial and error and as much pain as gain.

With subscription business models, revenue is generated from individual customers making recurring payments for continued access to a good or service over an extended period of time. The challenges to success are many, but matching customer demand for utilization with a price for the service is perhaps the most critical calculation. MoviePass, the subscription movie ticket upstart, paid each movie theaters’ full price for their subscribers’ tickets. The price was predicated on estimating how many times each month customers would utilize the service. When it was discovered that 15 % of customers were visiting theaters more than what was predicted each month, the difference between projections and reality resulted in a $147 million loss for the emerging business. Getting the price right is critical.    

If the price isn’t perceived by the consumer to be a good value then the service will fail to launch. However, set the price too low and sustainability and growth of the provider company will be elusive at best. Ultimately pricing should be flexible enough to respond to unanticipated volatility in demand and new competitive market entrants. Longer term pricing rates will provide opportunity to level market demand over time and give providers more time to form stronger connections with individual customers. Building strong, ongoing customer relationships are important to every business but are particularly critical to subscription services where referral from family and friends generates three to five times higher conversion rates than any other channel of marketing.

Subscription service, once thought to be nothing more than a threat to profit margins by many traditional business model executives, is finding converts even among the most skeptical. The trend appears to be gravitating towards each brand offering their own unique pricing plan rather than third party player offerings across multiple brands. The rate of acceptance and transition also is dependent upon the maturation of consumers, particularly among those who still find comfort in one-time payment for ownership. As the fine-tuning continues in delivery and more consumers cross the divide between traditional ownership to shared usership, it is likely that subscription services may just find their way into every imaginable type of product or service business. Just another case where fundamental market disruption results in the demise of the “it won’t work here” premise.

Consumers Relearning Some Old Lessons with the Advent of Influencer Marketing

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Influencer marketing, the technological equivalent to traditional word of mouth advertising, involves promoting products and services by celebrities and individuals who have influence over consumers’ purchase decisions. This influence typically comes from the actors’ expertise, popularity, or reputation. Consumers respond because they feel an affinity to the influencer and find them credible. Influencer is quickly becoming a profession category where genuine celebrities and self-made “stars”, who are famous for just being famous, are making a career of endorsing everything from beauty products to machine tools.

 With an estimated 800 million people actively using Instagram each month, in addition to other social media platforms, marketers are lining up to spend vast sums of money to connect their brands with consumers through these influencers. The medium is estimated to be worth more than $1.5 billion worldwide. The Association of National Advertisers has determined that 75 percent of marketers currently work with influencers in part due to the fact that the marketing tactic has 11 times the return on investment (ROI) of traditional digital marketing.

Some recent experiences though are having an impact on the new advertising medium. As with many shiny new things that produce nearly instant sizzle, influencer marketing is experiencing the consequences of fraud brought on by a lack of transparency. Reminiscent of the introductive days of television advertising, when pictures first married with prose to create visions of products and service performances that rivaled a snake-oil salesman pitch, social media advertising seems to be intent on rivaling the worst of these historic activities. Honesty, truth and transparency, most often portrayed as essential to effective advertising, are once again coming under fire, or is it Fyre?  Cynicism is quickly replacing much of the enthusiasm for celebrity word of mouth. Some critics are claiming that as much as 50 percent of influencer marketing industry performances are plagued by fraud.

Perhaps no better example of what can go wrong when famously famous people endorse an event without exercising responsible due diligence, is the now infamous Fyre Festival of 2017. Host Brian McFarland promoted an over the top, luxurious festival experience to launch his music booking mobile application. Famous celebrities lined up to accept as much as $250 thousand to advertise the promise of gourmet food, glamorous tents and villas, rock stars and a bevy of famous supermodels. Ticket buyers arrived to find the amenities woefully lacking and the promised performance stars and international models non-existent. Event attendees found themselves stranded on the far-away island of Great Exuma in the Bahamas. It was anything but an entertaining experience.

The failure was blamed on the promoter’s inability to launch an engagement, but in hindsight many consider the catastrophe nothing less than intentional fraud. With influencers receiving huge sums to promote the event, critics were quick to focus some of the responsibility on those influencers that failed to perform reasonable fact checking and investigation into the event promoter’s capabilities and credibility.

The industry was forced to initiate reforms following the debacle. Technological solutions are being implemented that will identify and recognize fake followings and fake engagements with the goal to separate fiction from reality. Harsher penalties are now in place for those who do not post the requisite full view notifications paid partnerships tags. The United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority has warned hundreds of social media influencers to comply with stricter rules and to ensure that all sponsored or paid-for content is clearly labeled. Many people believe that the influencers involved with Fyre should be held accountable for helping market what ultimately became a failed event.

In the end, consumers bear a certain level of responsibility for their victimhood. For generations we were brought up to expect that; if it looks too good to be true it probably is; don’t believe everything you hear and though a picture can be worth a thousand words those words and the pictures may not be true. With the advent of software that can place someone where they have never been, saying things they have never said, this axiom deserves an increased amount of due diligence and scrutiny.

Despite all the amazing technological advances of the past decades, personal behavior, like fashion tends to repeat itself over time. Bad actors and criminal behavior are more often encouraged, not bounded by all the shiny new advances in digital communication. The former one to one approach to connecting with an expanding audience is being amplified by the internet’s “one to many” social media environment. Consumers are being forced to relearn some life lessons and are responding to the demise of influencer transparency and credibility in this new form of advertising. In a recent global survey of consumers, Nielsen found that 83% of consumers trust the recommendations of friends and family over other advertising influencers.

In 2019 successful brands will find a way to authentically utilize the expansive amount of customer content to more successfully connect their brands with consumers.

A More Diverse and Socially Conscience Generation of Consumers

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Grouping an entire generation of people into a single marketing segment has its pitfalls. Not every member of any group or demographic segment can be expected to see the world from an identical perspective and follow a single behavioral pattern. However, generational differences and behaviors are influenced by disruptive events. The Great Depression and World War II had a dramatic impact on baby boomers, both in the way they saw the world and their role in the future. The technology revolution is generating much of the same impact on Millennials, and to an even greater degree, Generation Z. Such dynamic experiences tend to not only alter established patterns of process but often disrupts the way people reinterpret and redefine fundamental societal norms.

Marketers found measured success in developing strategies that connected with Millennials only after struggling to fully understand the impact of the technology era on those born and reared during the years that saw unprecedented disruption in traditional communication processes. Millennials were the test subjects for social media platforms that were born and that matured during their formative years. Both Millennials and the generation that followed became accustomed to fast paced growth of new technologies and the impacts they have on the world.

Generation Z consists of those born in 1996 or later. They make up 25.9% of the United States population and will account for one-third of the U.S. population by 2020. The most tech savvy and information consuming generation in history, Generation “Z’ers” tend to be less focused on a single thought but are demonstrating an amazing ability to multitask and a lack of patience with a single subject. Since 2018, members of Generation Z spent up to $143 billion and will represent 40% of consumers by 2020. In order to successfully market to this generation, it is important to recognize how this new set of consumers differentiates from the previous generation. While Millennials learned to coexist with the development of digital devices, Z’ers are perpetual in their use and have demonstrated a mastery of everything smart and mobile.

Marketers are experiencing a massive shift in advertising methods and content messaging in order to successfully connect with Generation Z’s shifting values. “When it doesn’t get there fast they think something’s wrong,” said Marcie Merriman, executive director of growth strategy at Ernst & Young. “They expect businesses, brands and retailers to be loyal to them. If they don’t feel appreciated, they’re going to move on. It’s not about them being loyal to the business.” Like their predecessors, this new generation values authenticity. However, Generation Z’ers desire even more transparency from companies requiring brands to alter their approach to focus to a greater degree on social media influencers. This generation of shoppers indicates they are more likely to be motivated by social media influencers than by celebrities. Four out of five Generation Z members say they allow social media to influence purchasing decisions.

Contrary to digitally honed social insights, Generation Z is more socially diverse and conscious than former generations. They are more likely to appreciate face to face relationships, be willing to do great work for an employer and are predicted to be willing to invest years in a job that propels them forward to achieving personal self-development. According to Generation Z marketing strategist Deep Patel, “the newly developing high tech and highly networked world has resulted in an entire generation thinking and acting more entrepreneurially.”

It would be easy to button-hole this newest generation of consumers into one market segment, but care must be exorcized to understand that each new generation is influenced by those that have gone before. In reality, while greatly impacted and honed from a lifetime of technology, this new generation may be much more diverse having been influenced by interactions with each preceding generation.

It’s Time to Play the March Madness Advertising Game

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Unlike 2018, the big NCAA 2019 basketball tournament event is not burdened with the pressure of battling clean-up. March Madness 2019 is predicted to set a new record of $1.36 billion in advertising spend, continuing an upward tradition since 2013. The NCAA Men’s Division I Final Four will be hosted by the city of Minneapolis, and is predicted to generate $142 million in economic impact for the area and attract 94,000 visitors to the U.S. Bank Stadium.  “In terms of impact, visitor spending is only one way to think about success,” says CEO Kate Mortenson, NCAA Final Four Minneapolis Organizing Committee. While the city looks forward to the promise of an economic windfall, a list of international brands is gearing up for an opportunity to promote their wares to the millions of college basketball fans who will be tuning in to the weeks-long event leading up to the big game.

The NCAA has announced that this year’s tournament will be streaming across 15 platforms in an effort to keep pace with a more mobile viewing audience. Mobile experiences will be very important to fans and advertisers will need to heed the viewers’ continued gravitational pull away from traditional cable and broadcast channels. The most successful brands will be those that connect all the channels into one cohesive campaign that brings basketball fans together with the brand.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will continue to build relationships between fans and brands. Official March Madness social media handles generated 26 million social engagements across these popular channels last year. Marketers will need to prepare ahead in order to capture prolonged customer attention.  “It’s about speaking to the audience, whether they’re preparing for their bracket or starting a competition with friends and family. And it’s about thinking of the length of time you’re spending with consumers,” says Courtney McKlveen, VP and Industry Lead of Retail, Travel and QSR at Yahoo. “ The word ‘loyalty’ is fun to throw around, but it still exists. In order to build loyalty, it takes time, and it means being there throughout the shopping cycle, and having the confidence to think about your ROI differently.”

Casual-dining brand Buffalo Wild Wings is launching its “That’s March Madness” TV spots and digital ads urging viewers to visit its restaurants to watch the tournament. In addition to their usual broad selection of brew and spicy wings, the 1,200-unit Buffalo Wild Wings chain is rolling out custom-designed “Jewel Stools” in Los Angeles and New York City. “Man caves and technology have divided us, conquered us and allowed a part of our herd to be divided,” says Scot Crooker, associate creative director at The Martin Agency, Buffalo Wild Wings’ advertising agency. “Sports is about finding your tribe.”

Whether you choose one or all of the available channels, there are more ways than ever for a brand to engage with an audience during March Madness. While the digital play provides social analytics that can generate immediate message effectiveness, display and sponsorship advertising often requires an incubation period following the performance to measure success or failure. It’s time to establish a strategy and tip off your best effort to connect with our nation’s college basketball fans.

Adopting Graphic Trends in Website Design to Boost Brand Success

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The results of a recent survey by Tyton Media is stressing the importance of website design in how customers perceive a brand. The survey indicated that 48 percent of people name website design as the biggest indicator of a company’s credibility. Website users are more likely to trust, remember, and connect with the brand if they find the website design consistent with the brand’s message and relevant to the brand’s reputation. Poor or irrelevant designs can alienate potential customers and create a negative impression. More than 80 percent of users who experience a poor web design will not return and are lost forever. So what design elements are trending in 2019?

Like fashion, popular designs tend to repeat themselves over time. What was fashionable in the past often reappears after falling out of favor. Amid the rise of 3D graphics, blogs, case studies, infographics, bold coloration, artificial intelligence and the predicted reemergence of hand-drawn graphics, simplicity is finding its reemergence into effective website design. The concept of “less is more” is finding renewed favor with designers and developers in 2019. Creating simple and concise messages that get straight to the point can be the most effective way to engage your audience. While simplicity makes a comeback, bold statements with bright color and gradient designs are trending up.

Today’s users are in a hurry, and “instant gratification” remains in vogue.  Websites have a narrow threshold of opportunity to attract, capture and move customers to initiate the buying decision. Removing unnecessary clutter, bells and whistles will help users navigate information and find the solutions they are seeking.  In the coming year, asymmetrical design is predicted to become a trend in order to attract a viewers’ attention. An unbalanced approach may just set a brand apart from the competition.

The use of animated GIFs and bots are finding their way into web designs at a greater pace, allowing for increased user convenience, more instant responses to customer inquiries and the ability for marketers to more directly target messages to consumer issues. Simpler layout, increased use of white space, flat design and clean practical aesthetics will premier.        Adapting to trending designs and using them to differentiate your brand and message will help cut through all the digital noise and set your brand apart from the competition.  To learn more about how Junction Creative Solutions’ (Junction) professional team of designers move your brand ahead of the competition, call 678-686-1125 today.

Marketers Help Distribute Oscar Gold at the Academy Awards

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The Academy Awards have been an entertaining promotion of the movie industry for decades. At its peak, the 3-hour distribution of the golden Oscar to the industry’s best performances captured millions of viewers and generated unprecedented hype for cinema performers, directors and technicians. The once high viewer ratings have diminished over the past two years due to falling interest in a program that has strayed beyond its stated mission and into the critical arena of politics and overt promotion of controversial social issues.

The prediction for the 91st edition of the Academy Awards was dire at the program’s debut but the ABC TV network managed to garner a record $2.6 million for a 30-second advertising spot on the 2019 program. ABC sells more advertising on Oscar Sunday than any day of the year.

This year’s major brands included:  Google, McDonald’s, Verizon, Walmart, Cadillac and Walt Disney. Nike used the platform to launch a powerful, female-focused “Dream Crazy” campaign, fronted by tennis legend Serena Williams. Embarrassed by a failing sneaker worn by its spokesman basketball star in Duke University’s loss to North Carolina the previous week, the iconic brand needed a big win to erase the memory of that debacle from consumers’ minds.

“The Super Bowl is over. It’s mid-February,” Jeff Greenfield, chief operating officer of C3 Metrics, a media measurement company, said in a recent interview. “I am Walmart. My competitor is Amazon. Where can I go and compete against Amazon on what is essentially a global stage and get reach today? It’s the Oscars. … For a brand like a Walmart, they have to be there.” Despite a falling viewer audience, ABC will rack-up more than $150 million from this year’s event. Apparently, falling attendance and program ratings are having little effect on those brands that are willing to pay a premium to share the world’s entertainment stage.

The once “don’t mix politics, religion and controversial social issues with business” mantra that guided advertising for centuries is quickly being abandoned as marketers perceive changing trends in consumers’ favor for socially conscience brands. Providers of major entertainment like the National Football League (NFL) however, are learning that the diversion from focusing on the quality of the entertainment to the promotion of controversy has its limits with a diverse consumer audience. Going forward, promotors of programs like the Academy Awards may want to temper the rhetoric of controversy and refocus on awarding favor to artistic performance if they want to advance their own brand to a more diverse community of consumers.

This year’s ratings bump was welcomed after years of declining interest among viewers but the impact of the increase may be short lived, or not. The fact remains that the Oscars televised event with all its tarnish still attracts a reliable but fractured viewing audience. For brands looking to reach that audience, the Oscars ceremony continues to be an important venue to promote.

Lower the Number of Abandoned Shopping Carts with Improved User Experience

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In the beginning, that time when the internet was this shiny new thing whose intention was often misunderstood and which was capable of disrupting accepted norms in conducting business and social interactions, website design focused mostly on the technology and all the gee-whiz things a talented techy could command new digital devices to perform. The vast majority of business managers and leaders had only a passing fundamental knowledge of the technology and an even more limited appreciation as to how it all would revolutionize the seller/consumer relationship. The focus initially and for some period of time was on the technology; the science of making it all function consistently and dependably. Today, the importance of user experience, one of many new terms to be added to language dictionaries around the world since the introduction of digital communications, is still misunderstood in many digital marketing arenas.

“User Experience or the UX basically compasses all the details of end-users’ interaction with the brand, its products, and its services,” says Don Norman, author of “The Design of Everyday Things.” Getting user experience right is critical to an online retailer’s ability to close the sale. Getting it wrong will result in increased online shopping carts left abandoned. Shopping cart abandonment refers to visitors leaving an online store without purchasing the items in their online carts.  Recent studies by Baymard Institute show that 69.89 percent of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts.

Online shoppers are accustomed to having thousands of choices from online sellers who are out to satisfy consumers’ increasing desire for convenience. Their expectations of service are fueled by sellers who have made it their mission to reduce the number of abandoned shopping carts. Eliminating even the smallest obstacle to consummating the purchase decision is critical to achieving sales success.

Simplicity is a hallmark of any successful user experience. Consumers are by nature impatient. The process of creating and managing a customer profile must be as simple as possible. Managing customer profiles, address and payment details and tracking purchases are all fundamental to a well-formed user experience. Pages should load quickly and correctly across various devices, functionality should be consistent and dependable with little need for consumers to experience utilization problems. Focus functionality on consumers’ expectations and create a journey from research to the implication of purchase that is seamless and personal. A great user experience will build brand loyalty and result in repeat customers eager to make additional purchases.

Does your website’s user experience need some enhancements? Contact the web design specialists at Junction Creative Solutions today to learn how we can help you lower your number of abandoned shopping carts.

Okay, So Even the Venerable Super Bowl isn’t Always So Super

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It may not be as bad as finding an empty vault in Al Capone’s basement but the LIII Super Bowl Game certainly failed to deliver on the anticipated excitement, either for the fans watching the game or the advertisers who spent a large share of their annual marketing budget to advertise during the event. The estimated $5 million per 30-second spot always comes with a significant amount of doubt as to its real value.

This year’s mega game was the least watched Super Bowl matchup in 11 years and is ranked as the lowest rated in 16 years. CBS says the broadcast averaged 98.2 million viewers and a 41.1 household rating, almost as exciting as the activity playing out on the field. Even the halftime entertainment failed to excite the dulling malaise in the stadium. Perhaps the only star-studded performance of the week was the city of Atlanta and its ten thousand volunteers who put forth an award winning performance.

For advertisers who spent a ridiculous sum to produce a bevy of television commercials, they couldn’t be happy that the coveted number one commercial, as judged by the USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter, was the event’s owners and producers, The National Football League. It’s akin to entering a contest and having the contest organizer take the top trophy at the end of the show. Runner-up was the Amazon Alexa ad about technology gone haywire, followed by Microsoft’s ad about children with disabilities using the Xbox adaptive controller to play video games. The major beer brands’ efforts appeared to be as skillful as the two competitors on the field, just a bit off their best games. It appears as though brewing beer with molasses is a big deal, or maybe not.

The only clear winners were women, whose participation rate in commercials ticked up over previous bowl events. Toyota, Olay, Bumble and Michelob Ultra are among the brands that put women front-and-center in Big Game ads. “It seems like there’s an awful lot of humor and light appeals, and that for advertisers it’s somewhat of a play-it-safe year,” said Charles R. Taylor, a professor of marketing at the Villanova University School of Business. “We’re not hearing about anything crossing over in politics.” A resounding Bravo could be heard from avid football fans that spent more than $2,500 per seat to be entertained and $1 thousand for a bed to sleep in after all the partying.

Now that the crowds have gone home and the Champion’s parade has cleared the streets, it’s time for the marketers who convinced their C Suites that the million (plural in many cases) dollar tab was worth the effort. In the end, taking win place or show in the ad game only matters when revenue is added up. Unlike last year, the players on the margins of ROI won’t have the Olympic Games to soften a rough landing.

One aspect of advertising the big game from year to year is the answer to the question, “Was it worth the money?” It still remains in the wind. Measuring the impact of a single-event television ad is like asking an AM radio personality how many people heard a specific 30 seconds of the broadcast. In reality, the best answer you can hope for is a fair share of the audience that hadn’t nodded-off. The most successful ads tend to be those that elevate the institutional value of the brand over time. It’s sort of “you’re not sure but you’ll know the answer when you feel it.” Regardless of the answer, it is almost a given certainty that most of the admen and adwomen who turned out a team to play in this year’s LIII Super Bowl will return for an encore performance next year. The whole thing is just too good of a spectacle to miss. And besides, would you want to be the marketing manager who passes on the one year that the competition beats you badly at the goal line?

Another Super Event In the ATL

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With all the excitement in Atlanta, Georgia, one would think it was 1996 and the Summer Olympics were fast approaching. Not since then has the big city in the South experienced this frantic level of anticipation and excitement. No Olympics this time, but rather Super Bowl LIII. For more than 200 days, City planners and more than 10,000 volunteers have been planning, priming and preparing for just one day in February, Super Bowl Sunday, and for good reason. This year’s super football contest between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams promises to generate more than $700 billion for the city’s commerce and a welcome down payment on the costs of the city’s brand new $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The new stadium is the most recent mega landmark to grace Atlanta, which extends well beyond the confines of the original city boundaries. Mercedes-Benz Stadium is advertised to be located in the “heart of the City,” but the “City” of the Atlanta is expansive. The Atlanta Metro Area has become one of the most expansive urban Meccas in the country. With many of the world’s largest and best recognized companies deciding to call the area home, it is attracting some of the nation’s most capable young professionals and entrepreneurs who are gravitating to the area’s increasingly exciting lifestyle. The economic impact of the event will be felt throughout the expanded area and will certainly boost the fortunes of a large assortment of business and commerce.

Despite the advanced preparations and planning, residents and attendees will need to expect even more intense traffic on the city’s already frantic byways. For those not planning to participate in the many events prior to and on the day of the game, it may be a good time to consider cooking at home and staying close to the neighborhood. The areas traffic patterns have a reputation for gridlock and aggressive drivers and are legendary among residents and visitors alike, even during normal times.

Marketers are ready for the event that has redefined single-event advertising. A 30-second spot on CBS will cost advertisers about $5 million each, but there is no shortage of brands willing and ready to take a shot of making advertising history. Advertising opportunities are not the only venue for increasing brand awareness.  Billboards, Pedi cabs, vehicle wraps, experiential marketing and sampling are among the marketing collateral available to advertisers who want to connect with the anticipated 1.5 million Super Bowl LIII visitors.

For those looking to attend the Super Bowl this year, it is going to be costly for those who have not yet secured their tickets. Last available tickets for the game are rumored to cost as much as $10 thousand each. With just a few days left before Super Sunday, airline flights, hotels and passes to many of the weekend events are going for a premium. Good news for Atlanta. Who is your pick for Super Bowl stardom?