What’s The Frequency, Kenny? BetMGM Ad Intentionally Burned Into Our Brains

Posted By Ian St. Clair on August 25, 2020 - Last Updated on January 19, 2021

By now, you’ve seen the BetMGM TV commercial at least 100 times; though that might undershoot it a skosh.

“Kenny! Kenny!” Sound familiar?

If you’re a TV-owning Coloradan and don’t know the ad we speak of, please let us in on your secret.

It’s to the point now that when you turn on your TV to watch something, it’s the BetMGM ad with a sporting event mixed in.

It’s not just the BetMGM commercials either. Since Colorado legal sports betting launched on May 1, you cannot escape the sportsbooks ads.

BetMGM ad

But the BetMGM ad appears at such a frequent rate, one might get the urge to throw the TV out of the window. Though that would be counterproductive since you would have to buy a new TV and soon face the same problem, just out a TV.

There are two versions of the ad, both featuring former NBA guard Kenny Smith riding in the back of an SUV. Sorry, just the mere mention of this commercial is forcing some rage typing.

The gist of the commercial is BetMGM is telling potential Colorado customers to put their money where their mouth is, in the form of a $500 risk-free bet.

That’s a nice offering for potential customers. But when you see it so many times, does it really help?

How much is too much?

This gets into the age-old question of advertising and frequency: How much is too much?

There is no consensus, and data tends to conflict.

As this story from AdAge points out, a 2016 study said that 12 to 15 exposures for cable TV over the life of a campaign is ideal.

The Colorado sports betting apps have blown by that number.

“TV frequency usually is optimal around one per week for most categories,” the conductor of the study said in the story.

In the same article, it states what Jennifer Burton spent years learning and teaching: Three to 10 cumulative exposures were ideal for a TV ad for the life of the campaign.

But as the story points out, it gnawed at her that her real-world experience was different.

“She saw the Geico Gecko, or Allstate’s Mayhem or Jake from State Farm way more than that.”

No consensus

That led Burton, who is a University of Tampa marketing professor, to launch a study.

As the story notes of the study’s findings:

“People tend to have an initial emotional connection when they see an ad one or two times. A more reasoned or cognitive response when they’ve seen it three to 10 times. And then a deeper emotional connection after more than 10 viewings, particularly if the creative is good.”

As Burton said in the story:

“Ultimately, we found if they had seen an ad more than 10 times, they had a significant lift in purchase intent.” It adds that people have more positive attitudes about the ad and brand.

To give you an idea of how favorably people perceive the BetMGM ads, PlayColorado conducted an informal Twitter poll. Obviously, it is far from scientific, and a really small sample size. The poll was intended to be a fun way to capture what viewers think.

Those who responded hated it. In fact, a majority really hated it.

Please, no jingles in sportsbooks ads

When a new industry is introduced to a market, you know the ads are coming.

But the pace at which the sportsbooks ads hit you is almost too much.

In the time it took you to read this, that BetMGM commercial aired another 100 times.

Of course, at least it doesn’t have a jingle that gets stuck in your head.

“Five. Five dollar. Five dollar footlong.”

Don’t get any ideas, BetMGM or any other of the sportsbooks.

Ian St. Clair Avatar
Written by
Ian St. Clair

Ian St. Clair is an award-winning sports journalist. He is a University of Northern Colorado graduate, Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. Ian does a segment each Saturday on Klahr and Kompany on Denver radio station ESPN 1600 AM.

View all posts by Ian St. Clair