It’s more important than ever for advertising to hit its mark and penetrate the minds of the distracted masses. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know when I say the average American is suffering from advertising overload at a level that was inconceivable even 20 years ago.
Wherever big money or the potential for it exists, advertising will fill every available space like metal shavings jumping for a magnet. This space includes the Las Vegas strip and Major League Baseball’s 30 ballparks.
And the ballparks are winning.
Advertising overload is everywhere
In the 1970s and 1980s, baseball parks looked like baseball parks. The outfield walls were usually green or some similar color, and the only signs on them were the distances in feet from home plate. The fronts of the seating tiers were painted appropriately, and in some parks these spaces were outfitted with electronic scoreboards to help fans keep up with the game.
Outfield scoreboards and other select areas in some parks bore the logos of the team’s big sponsors (Coke, Budweiser, Ford) but for the most part, the scoreboards were just scoreboards that tracked inning-by-inning numbers. Dodger Stadium (I remember, because I used to go there a lot) had orange Union 76 gas station balls on top of the outfield scoreboards. The balls weren’t intrusive. They were just a normal part of the Dodger Stadium landscape.
Select ballparks circa 1960s/1970s (click to enlarge)
Thanks to advertising overload, ballparks today no longer look like ballparks. They look like e-commerce web pages, full of bursting color, movement and eye-diverting messages. Everywhere you look, somebody’s trying to sell you something. Ads line the outfield walls and the spaces behind home plate. The tier fronts are packed with ads in many parks. The scoreboards often are almost as big as the fields, because they need plenty of room to put all the ads.
Select ballparks circa now (click to enlarge)
Many of today’s ballparks are named after corporations, so advertising overload increases every time you say the damn name of the facility.
A few parks still have normal names:
Angel Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park (named for Boston’s Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood), Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati)
But then you have these:
AT&T Park, Chase Field, Citi Field, Citizens Bank Park, Globe Life Park in Arlington, Guaranteed Rate Field, Minute Maid Park, Petco Park, Progressive Field, SunTrust Park, Target Field
You may be saying, “Yes, but my business doesn’t compete with Chase or Minute Maid or Target, so who cares about ballpark advertising?” You should care, because even though your products and services don’t compete with the Biggies, you definitely are competing for a share of consumers’ available mental space, the amount of which is dwindling even as we speak.
And that means you should put extra effort into making your marketing materials as good as they can be. Advertising overload is everywhere, and only the very best marketing, which hinges on the words you use to tell your story, will have a fairly easy time getting through it.