SBD/Issue 22/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

AIG Is Prepared For Overtime With Advertising Strategy

American Int'l Group (AIG) is buying TV ads during "the extra innings of baseball games and overtime in professional and college football games ... in an effort to reach what it believes is a more-attentive audience," according to Brian Steinberg of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. AIG VP/Communications Steven Rautenberg: "This is a time when all fans are riveted to their [TV]. If we could buy that time, the networks get some extra revenue, and we get the benefit of a very involved audience." Pilson Communications President Neal Pilson said that marketers generally "prefer to stay away" from buying ads for overtimes. Pilson: "You don't want to commit to an extra-innings game or an overtime situation, and it doesn't happen and you don't run." Steinberg notes that in one of four spots for AIG created by Omnicom Group's TPG, a "scoreboard flashes messages such as '$600[B] in assets' while crowds cheer and game music plays." The voiceover: "Yeah, we're prepared for overtime. And we can help you be prepared, too." The ads have aired recently during college and NFL football on CBS, ABC and ESPN, and they also may run on Fox during the MLB playoffs. Sources said that Fox had wanted AIG "to buy space during the actual postseason baseball games before agreeing to run the extra-innings commercials." The two sides "eventually ... came to an agreement, with AIG buying scheduled airtime." AIG is "so taken with the strategy that it is considering placing commercials during basketball and hockey overtimes." PHD, an Omnicom media-services firm, negotiated the ad placement (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/14).

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