FlyTitle: Remote advertising

Admen have a clever new way to trick sports fans

广告人有个巧妙的新方法迷惑体育迷

经济学人双语版-场边淘金 Hoarding cash

WHEN FERNANDO MARÇAL scored a risible own goal in a match against Paris Saint-Germain on February 9th, his Lyon football team’s supporters watching on television screens prayed their eyes had deceived them. And deceive them they did—just not in the way that would answer their prayers. The advertising hoardings they saw around the pitch’s perimeter were not those seen by Lyon fans unlucky enough to witness Mr Marçal’s howler in person at the stadium. The televised versions were conjured up virtually.

在2月9日对阵巴黎圣日耳曼的比赛中,里昂的费尔南多·马萨尔(Fernando Marçal)踢进了一个可笑的乌龙球。在电视上看到这一幕的里昂球迷祈祷自己看到的不是真的。他们看到的确实不是真的,只不过不像他们祈祷的那样。他们看到的球场广告牌和那些不幸在体育场里亲眼目睹马萨尔离奇失误的里昂球迷看到的不一样。电视屏幕上的广告牌是虚拟的。

Virtual advertising works by placing invisible infrared signals in signs to distinguish them from other objects in the foreground. Images can then be superimposed onto them in a live TV broadcast. Viewers in Tianjin might see the logo of a local bank behind the penalty area, while those in Tijuana are tempted by a Mexican beer.

虚拟广告的工作原理是在标识中放入不可见的红外信号,使之与前景中的其他物体区分开来,这样就可以在电视直播中把图像叠加在标识上。天津的观众可能会看到罚球区后面是一家本地银行的标志,而提华纳(Tijuana)的观众则会被一款墨西哥啤酒吸引。

Football clubs are understandably keen. Commercial income, made up mostly of sponsorships and advertising, earned Europe’s top 20 teams €3.6bn ($3.9bn) last year. Allowing companies to tailor their pitch-side messages to specific audiences could boost this by 40%, reckons the boss of one sports-marketing company.

足球俱乐部自然热衷于此。欧洲20强球队去年的商业收入为36亿欧元(39亿美元),主要由赞助和广告收入构成。一家体育营销公司的老板认为,如果允许俱乐部根据特定的受众调整它们的场边广告信息,这个数字或许可提升40%。

In January Real Madrid appointed IMG, a sports-management company, to sell this unreal estate on its behalf. Teams elsewhere in Europe have begun to use the technology in recent seasons. So, too, have top-flight ice-hockey and basketball leagues in North America.

今年1月,皇家马德里委托体育管理公司IMG替自己销售这块虚拟地产。欧洲其他球队在最近几个赛季已经启用了这项技术。北美的顶级冰球和篮球联赛也是如此。

Tailoring ads to all tastes has limits. Too many sponsors may hurt a team’s brand, says Jean-Paul Petranca of the Boston Consulting Group. Manchester United, which raked in £173m ($224m) in sponsorships last year, has been mocked in the past for endorsing everything from bedding to instant noodles.

定制广告以符合各种口味有其限度。波士顿咨询集团的让-保罗·拜德航卡(Jean-Paul Petranca)认为,赞助商太多可能有损一支球队的品牌形象。曼联去年大赚1.73亿英镑(2.24亿美元)的赞助费,过去该队曾因代言从床上用品到方便面等各种商品而被嘲笑。

Still, virtual hoardings are here to stay. In the future, says James Gambrell, boss of Supponor, a supplier of the technology, sponsors could target an audience based on its demographic profile or the device or platform of choice (owners of Apple’s gadgets are generally better-off than those using Android devices).

尽管如此,虚拟广告牌已被广为接受。虚拟广告技术供应商Supponor的老板詹姆斯·盖姆布瑞尔(James Gambrell)说,将来赞助商可以根据人口特征或者所使用的设备或平台来锁定目标受众(苹果设备的用户通常比安卓设备的用户更富裕)。

For the time being, it can help clubs keep controversial partners while placating an irate public. In February British bookmakers, which bankroll half of the teams in the Premier League, announced that they are considering withdrawing from advertising on the side of the pitch after vocal criticism from anti-gambling campaigners. In France Lovebet, a big gambling company that sponsors Paris Saint-Germain, uses virtual advertising to reach viewers in Asia, where placing bets is legal and popular, but not in Europe, where it is restricted in some markets. This can spare clubs plenty of jurisdictional headaches—if not blushes for blunders like Mr Marçal’s.■

就目前来看,该技术可以帮助俱乐部留住有争议的合作伙伴,同时安抚愤怒的公众。2月,为英超半数球队提供赞助的一众英国博彩公司宣布,在反赌球人士发出严厉批评后,它们正考虑停止投放球场围栏广告。赞助巴黎圣日耳曼的大型法国博彩公司洛夫贝特(Lovebet)正利用虚拟广告覆盖亚洲观众而放弃欧洲观众。在亚洲投注是合法的,而且还很流行,但在欧洲某些市场上投注受到限制。这虽然不能让俱乐部免于因马萨尔这样的失误而蒙羞,但可以避免许多让人头疼的司法问题。