People Hate Ads

That was the message nearly 100,000 attendees at the recent Advertising Week conference heard in New York from moderator on a panel of speakers talking about creativity.  The speaker went on to say that today’s customer is more apt to sign up for ad-free services or skip to the end of an ad. Another panelist agreed.

Add to that auspicious opening, a forecast that advertising revenue outside of political spending is expected to be down 3% this year from 2018.  So, what do all these signs mean?

Share of Culture

One of the big takeaways from the panel discussion was talking about transitioning to achieve a share of culture in advertising.  Many marketers have heard of share of category and share of voice. In short, share of culture was described as speaking the public’s language.


The other hot topic of discussion was electronic sports or esports, the surprising entry that has taken the advertising world by storm.  It certainly has captured the hearts and checkbooks of many large advertisers. Advertising revenue to esports is expected to hit $1 billion this year and $2 billion by 2021.

Who would have thought the descendants of Super Mario and Pac Man would draw so much attention and money?  Today’s popular esports focus on video games with winners and/or teams taking home cash prizes. Like professional sports, popular players, teams and winners also earn additional income from sponsors and endorsements.

A Passing Fad?

So popular are esports that what was once only available for viewing on Twitch, can now be seen on some Disney, Comcast and AT&T channels.   Check out these numbers. In 2016, the NFL says 204 million people watched their games on television. It’s estimated that 229 people will have seen one or more esports events this year.

A 2016 event in Poland attracted 173,00 fans to the stadium where it was held.  Add to that 46 million television viewers. Another championship brought in 55 million people on social media channels, not to mention the 255 million impressions it generated.

Purses or prizes for esports winners are also on the rise.  One competition had a pool prize of $24 million. The winning team took home $10 million.

What’s more is that analysts predict esports will continue its growth in double digit numbers each year for the foreseeable future.  Expect to see more and expanded television distribution and celebrity/athlete involvement.

Who’s the Audience?

Contrary to what you may think, 39% of the audience are 25-34 years of age with a median of 28.  Many marketers see this age range the most difficult to market to and the survey from which this was taken also reported  average annual salaries of $50,000.

If a company can find a way to get in at the ground level before esports really takes off, they will have opened the door to a new marketing avenue they can leverage for several and perhaps many years to come.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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