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Which brands missed the mark at the AFL Grand Final?


Which brands missed the mark at the AFL Grand Final?


A Steak insight into who spent big money on AFL television advertising but fumbled and dropped the ball.

According to The Australian, 8 September 2008, media buyers estimated that advertisers would spend $35million over the AFL and Rugby League finals period and that Channel Seven was to be asking $120,000 for a casual 30 second spot during the AFL Grand Final.

With the AFL Grand Final capturing 2.6m viewers, Steak closely watched the advertising teams. How well would brands invest AFL advertising budgets? Which teams would have the best synergetic game plan for linking television commercials with their online presence?

What is a ‘synergetic marketing approach’?

A synergetic marketing
approach ensures all marketing channels are working together to
communicate the desired message to your audience. Your online and
offline marketing is in synergy when all words associated with the
message in your TVC, radio or print ad, will also lead a consumer, when
they search online, to the relevant section in your website. A
synergetic approach to marketing will lead to stronger connections with
your market and greater returns for your advertising budget.

Why is it important to have a ‘synergetic marketing approach’ and to link TVC with an online presence?

Research* shows that, after engaging with a TVC, radio or print ad, people go online to research the offer, product or service. However, people don’t always remember URLs so ‘search’ online using words from the advertising message. A URL at the end of an ad is not a call to action and it’s unlikely to drive people to a brand website.

How did the brands perform during the 2008 AFL Grand Final?

The AFL Grand Final provided brands with an opportunity to connect with the AFL community of 2.6 million adoring fans, yet the majority of advertisers ran the same TVC that they run throughout the year. Only a few brands attempted a special promotion and fewer still included a call to action. And how many brands achieved synergy between their TVC message and online presence?


Top advertisers’ play of the day

Top players were Toyota, Samsung, NAB and RACV.


The main AFL sponsor for 2008 wins the Norm Smith Medal for best overall performance in synergising their offline and online advertising.

  • Toyota’s ‘AFL Legendary Moments’ TVCs have successfully attracted over 170,000 views on you tube.
  • Toyota connects with AFL fans through a dedicated AFL section of their website where fans can enter competitions, view and vote for their favourite ‘legendary moments’ TVC and discover other Toyota run AFL activities.
  • Toyota uses this section of their website to promote its new Aurion car, which is also the main product advertised by Toyota during the Grand Final match.
  • The ‘Toyota Aurion V6′ was promoted on the footy field and TVC. Toyota is running search engine ads to ensure it captures people searching for ‘aurion’, related terms and misspellings such as ‘orian’.


Specky – Samsung included a specific call to action in their TVC; they asked viewers to send the word ‘TV’ by text message to a special number shown on screen.

Clanger – The number didn’t work – we tried! Nor could we find the number or any mention of this promotion online or at their website.


Specky – the NAB attempts to connect with their market in an interesting way by creating an interactive online game for kids on their website. NAB promoted this in a TVC during the AFL Grand Final with messaging about their special saving accounts for kids including the URL: nab.com.au/opportunity

Clanger – this URL leads to the interactive game that can be played with other users. However, it seems other users didn’t remember the URL . Each time we accessed this game throughout Grand Final day, Sunday and Monday, we were told that no one else was online to play with us.

Since people don’t remember URLs, NAB should be running search engine ads targeting words associated with terms used in their TVC such as: ‘nab kids account’, ‘nab junior savings account’ and ‘kids saving account’ They don’t, possibly because their organic search result is high. However, ANZ and Commonwealth have targeted ads that appear for these terms with messages promoting their kids savings accounts.

NAB paid for the TVC spot at the AFL Grand Final, but ANZ and Commonwealth Bank could reap the benefits online.


No Specky for RACV but they do score a behind for optimising the description in their organic search results to be in synergy with their TVC on Grand Final day, which promotes their multi policy discount.

Clanger – RACV strongly promoted their multi policy discount in their TVC but are not targeting this phrase or synergising their message in their search engine ads. A search for ‘racv multi policy discount’ serves an RACV ad for home insurance.

Two final noteworthy clangers

The first goes to Logitech, who advertised their universal remote in their AFL Grand final TVC and told viewers to ‘find out more at Logitech.com’. But, there was nothing about this product on their home page and there were no search engine ads to capture consumers who forgot the Logitech brand but were looking for a universal remote.

And the final clanger goes to Solo and their URL – www.onehalftheman.com – is that the URL because we can’t remember and we can’t find any presence online to help us.

This isn’t just about making a marketing ‘oops’. It’s about kicking the ball in the wrong direction, forfeiting the point, and even giving it to the opposition. If your marketing game plan isn’t synergised, the game is ultimately lost. The brands that invested in the fervour of the AFL Grand Final failed to maximise a return on that $120,000 30 second spot.

* iProspect Offline Channel influence on Online Search Behaviour Study – 2007


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