In the heady days of September, FanDuel and DraftKings passed up no opportunity to blast their message. They were among the top spenders on television advertising in the country, with one of the companies ranked No. 1 in both volume and expenditure for most of August, September and parts of October, according to iSpot.tv.
FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles now admits that was probably a mistake.
“We definitely got creative burnout pretty darn quickly,” said Eccles told Bloomberg. “People, when they saw the ad for the 87th time, they thought, I’m sick of this.”
A FanDuel representative and DraftKings CEO Jason Robins both defended their strategies in September, when the ad deluge was at its high-water mark and negative feedback was ramping up.
From the Wall Street Journal:
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said that, despite a few negative tweets, the advertising is working well. Since the week leading up to the NFL season, DraftKings began adding hundreds of thousands of new users per day, growing from 3 million users to 4.5 million users, Mr. Robins said. (A FanDuel spokesperson said the run-up to the first weekend of games was the biggest week in the company’s history.)
While the campaigns were reportedly successful in attracting new customers, they also alienated others. Both sites have scaled back in recent weeks and neither currently appears in iSpot.tv’s top-10 ranking of biggest spenders on television advertising. But the negative association held by many toward the companies and their ads persists.
Can the government just regulate how many FanDuel ads I have to watch?
— Kristen (@abba_ks) October 29, 2015
I don’t think I have ever grown so sick of any commercials like I have with the Draft Kings and Fan Duel ads.
— TELLY (@BaldAsKojak) October 29, 2015
I’d pay for an ad blocker that just eliminates Draft Kings and Fan Duel ads.
— Matt Korman (@MathGorman) October 28, 2015
Eccles told Bloomberg that FanDuel will continue to move away from television in favor of digital ads and will alter its message, as well.
The company will also dial back the emphasis on cash prizes, which Eccles thinks FanDuel talked about too much because it struggled to make sexy the non-monetary appeals of fantasy sports. “It’s kind of hard to sell the research: ‘Oh this is so much fun, doing spreadsheets and going to all these websites,’” he said. “The money is tangible.” When the NFL season winds down in January, he says, the company’s executives will plot their strategy for next year.