The Attention Deficit

My morning ritual usually involves turning on the TV and watching a two or three hour loop of ESPN. I find it reassuring. It's the perfect background noise to get work done; I can ignore it or give it my attention as I choose. 

Over the last few months, I noticed a huge upsurge in the amount of commercials for Fan Duel or Draft Kings. Frankly, I can't tell one from the other, and the commercials are so poorly branded that they blend together as "those annoying daily fantasy game commercials". 

In communications, we often strive for attention. It's the grail -- how do we get our audience to pay attention? How do we make them take notice of us?  Often lost in the conversation is that attention is only a threshold; the message and emotions we deliver when we have folk's attention is the thing. 

According to Adage, they've spent $260 million in advertising this year alone. That's a lot of ads; it buys a lot of attention; maybe, it's brought them a lot of business (I'd guess). But here's the thing, so it's worth repeating: attention is only a threshold. 

The copious amounts of ads for Draft Kings & Fan Duel certainly raised my awareness of their existence. And I guess, taken together, they've raised my awareness that daily fantasy sports games are a "thing." So to that extent, you could call them a success...

But their commercials are so darn irritating. Multiply that by the fact that they seem to be on *all* the time and the annoyance factor is raised considerably. And throw in the ambiguous attitude we have towards gambling in this country, and you've got a potentially dangerous combination. 

What if the attention is exactly what they don't need? Sure it helps short term profits, but if your brand is murky, and you have a scandal that looks bad even if not illegal , then you end up on the wrong side of the New York Attorney General -- as is the case here. 

So what's the take away?

Be careful what you wish for. Attention is great. But attention without creating an underlying emotion, message or attachment can be dangerous -- it's better to be loved under the radar, than to alert folks to your presence who find you annoying at best or illegal at worst.