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Volume 21 No. 35
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Daily fantasy with Your cup of joe?

This month’s daily fantasy advertising blitz has been so oppressive that companies now are buying ads in places that never have seen such pitches before, even in the marketing mecca of midtown Manhattan.

A DraftKings coffee cart ad in NYC
DraftKings has been plastering its logo on street vendors throughout New York — many of whom said they never have sold any advertising on their carts. The daily fantasy site plastered a DraftKings sign on a cart at 45th Street and 6th Avenue, where I buy coffee when I’m in town. It also wrapped its logo on a cart a block away on 44th, where my colleague Terry Lefton occasionally buys smoothies. The vendors love the grassroots campaign, which can put between $250 and $900 per month in their pockets, depending on the size of the cart and whether it can hold more than one poster.

James Samdy has owned my favorite Manhattan coffee cart for the past 15 years. He said DraftKings pays him $250 per month to put its logo on one side of his cart. A 39-year-old sports fan from Afghanistan, Samdy has played daily fantasy once, but in late August, he saw an online offer to carry the site’s advertising message. He has never had advertising on his cart but decided to sign up. A DraftKings sales rep and installer visited him the next day.  DraftKings offered the $250 per month to put a sign on one side of his cart, $500 per month to put it on both.
Not a bad haul for a vendor who charges $2 for a large coffee.

Samdy opted to put the logo on one side, as he uses the other side to display bagels and pastries. “It took about two minutes,” he said.

A block away, Tan Van, 30, tells a different story. Van, who sells a large smoothie for $5, says he was approached on the street by a DraftKings sales rep who offered $300 per month to put the site’s logos on both sides of his cart. Having never sold advertising on his cart before, Tan eagerly accepted — though he says he should have negotiated a better deal. As soon as the signs went up, a second salesman told him that he would have paid Tan $300 per side.

— John Ourand