Times Square // On The Run

800px-nyc_times_square_wide_angleRebel was in New York two weeks ago to kick off the 2009 Major League Gaming season. We manage sponsor activation for Dr Pepper in partnership with our comrades at M80. If you haven’t seen my previous notes about Dr Pepper and MLG (Major League Gaming // Down With Us, Vegas // On the Run), it’s an amazing program that puts the soda brand at the heart of the competitive gaming audience — a rabid fan base to be sure. Game One was at the Meadowlands Expo Center in lovely Secaucus, NJ. I managed to sneak away for a few minutes to check out the city and get something to eat. Along the way, I passed through Times Square. Not that it’s changed, but for some reason all the lights and “out of home” stood out to me on this trip. Standing at the corner of 44th and Broadway, I got the full effect of the world’s most expensive light show. Or should I say the world’s biggest waste of money on a single block.

Despite the reports you have on your desk that “prove” the ROI of flashing brand images while people zoom by at 40 mph, sip their lattes and hold bluetooth conversations, I’m not convinced that billboards, digital or otherwise are worth much for most brands. I do see why it works for movie sequels, and I’ve often found the ones that tell me how far I am from the next gas station to be particularly helpful on road trips. But that’s probably about it.

Even worse would be to put dozens of them on top of each other and expect consumers to get anything besides vertigo. Worse still is to have competitive brands in close proximity. At the aforementioned corner, I noticed a Bud Light ad facing north, and then a Corona ad facing south. Similarly, Coke and Pepsi were strategically positioned on separate blocks.

If you’re standard excuse for not taking chances on your marketing that might actually matter is that you don’t have the money, you had better not have one of those monstrosities up for nobody to look at, or you’re going to have to answer to me.

On a side note, some quick New York shout-outs:

Best food was at Bouchon Bakery, followed by DB Bistro Moderne and ‘Inoteca (thanks Sarah!)

Thanks to Bryan Adams for coming out to the MLG event. Good to see you homie. Big up to the godfather James Bernard for having me out to his really dope spot in Gowanus: The Bell House. And thanks to my man LH for the drinks and conversation and the ferry ride across the Hudson. Lady Blue, you know what it is.