Interactive Banner Ads


Jim Kahler is the Executive Director of the Center of Sports Administration at Ohio University. He accepted the position in December of 2005 and oversees the day-to-day operation of the Center that carries forward the university's pioneering tradition in sports management education. The Center links faculty, students and alumni to sports-related organizations and businesses, emphasizing research and harnessing knowledge to benefit the industry.

As social and digital media continue to  grow in the sports business industry I have often found myself asking  one question as our students  continue to research  banner ads on team web sites  … Why aren’t  brands taking greater advantage  to make these ads interactive ?  I recently heard an expert in the field of digital media quote an alarming stat,   “Proportionally, you have a better chance of surviving a plane crash than getting someone to hit a link on your banner ad.” 


“You’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click a banner ad.” – Solve Media

While I wholeheartedly agree with this statement I do believe it’s time for the creative departments with some of the top brands around the world to go back to school. Your clients have made significant investments with sports properties and you now have an opportunity to activate your sponsorships with a more meaningful call to action. Don’t look at banner ads as just impressions that can be measured but rather as an opportunity waiting to be activated. 

One of my favorite sports properties to keep an eye on is the University of Michigan Men’s Basketball Team. My son Pete is the Director of Basketball Operations at Michigan and with the season now underway it was time to check in on the team’s web site. Today I found what I have been looking with a best practice for our graduate students with a well-designed   banner ad presented by The Principle Financial Group. The ad takes advantage of assets the company must have negotiated for with its new sponsorship with the Big 10 Conference. 


Snapshot of The Principal’s Banner Ad taken from the Big 10’s web site.

This creative went from being a simple banner ad to an interactive promotion where Big 10 football fans could enter for a chance to win a trip to this year’s championship game. Once you connect to the link the contest is short, simple and requires name, email, age, and your favorite team to enter. You also receive the opportunity to agree to receive future communications from The Principle (permission based marketing) and must agree to the official rules (Does anyone ever read the official rules for a sweepstakes?).

Research on Online Sweepstakes with Teams/Sponsors

I remember doing some consulting several years ago for a client who had evidence that fans of sports teams are 85% more likely to keep the check in the box when being offered additional promotional offers from the team and its sponsors. 


Snapshot of The Principals’ registration form with its Big 10 Football Promotion

Being a self-proclaimed sports sponsorship geek I went ahead and agreed to receive future communication to see how The Principle would reach back to me. The Principle promptly sent me a simple email that included the following:

  • A thank you note for entering the contest
  • A free playbook to help me with my retirement plans
  • Opportunity to get introduced to one of their representatives (Soft sell approach was most appreciated with a link to help me find their nearest agent in Athens. OH)
  • Notice and opportunity to enter the contest as often as  once per week

Kudos to everyone that must have worked together on this promotion including CBS, The Principal and Big 10 Conference. If you’re looking for other best practices on interactive sweepstakes offers I would highly recommend looking at  CBS as they now have the critical mass that major brands are looking for and experience building one to one relationships with sports fans across college sports.