The media these days is full of false equivalencies—just ask Joe Rogan. He and his guest suggested that today’s vaccines are the equivalent of Nazi medical experiments. Similarly, the Republican National Committee stated that the January 6th violence at the US Capitol was the equivalent of “legitimate political discourse.”
Politics is not the only arena in which people compare apples to oranges in an effort to convince us the sky is green. In the world of measurement, one can argue that the use of AVEs or Media Value is also false equivalency. Sports marketers are the worst offenders.
As usual in post-Super Bowl coverage there were stories about the “value” of sponsorship. Isn’t it funny that these articles about Super Bowl media values never point out that they are aimed at making sponsors feel better about handing out all that product and money to sports media and the teams they cover?
Bogus Bose Super Bowl Bang
Take Bose, the company behind the Super Bowl LVI coaches’ headsets. Hive, the company that tracks such stuff, asserts that the Bose logo appeared for a full eight minutes during coverage of the game. And, according to Hive, those 8 precious minutes delivered “$104 million” worth of exposure.
Hive somehow figures that every 150 seconds of Bose headphones on your screen is the equivalent of 30 seconds of advertising. With, of course no evidence of any “research” behind this claim.
And, since the average cost of a 30-second Super Bowl LVI advertisement was $6.5 million… well, you do the math. Regardless of your arithmetic, the comparison is based on invalid premises. It’s a perfect example of the dangers of false equivalents.
Here’s the first false equivalent: Hive’s calculation equates two very dissimilar promotional efforts. A Super Bowl ad is 30-seconds of high tech, high budget, highly produced video seduction, specifically designed to be sooooo interesting that millions of viewers will stay glued to their screens. The product placement, meanwhile, is, in the case of Bose, a pair of headphones worn by someone in constant motion.
Can you even identify the tiny logo of the brand in the picture up above? Until I started writing this post, I had no idea what was on the coach’s head.
The second false equivalent is between the levels of consumer desire that the two marketing methods generate. Even if people do notice the headphones in situ, does their mere presence generate as much desire to purchase as does an ad that is specifically designed to sell expensive cars or mediocre beer? Well, maybe it does. But I definitely want to see the research before I believe it.
And I can tell you from my own research, based on a non-random sample of exactly one, that I’ve watched a lot of football and bought a lot of headphones, and the two actions are in no way related.
The value of communications is not measured in seconds of exposure. It is always measured in terms of the actions or change in beliefs that it generates. ∞