A little economic analysis

I’ve been seeing a repeated commercial through the World Series about relief donations for hurricane relief from a major mobile carrier. They’ll give $10K per home run in the series, up from $5K per home run in the post-season generally. They’ll also give $2 per tweet with a particular hash tag, but I’ve never seen it trending¹, so we can probably assume that’s negligible.

It would be unusual to see as many as four home runs per game in the series, but even if it hit that, and even with a seven game series, you’d only be looking at 28 home runs. So, they are looking at a donation that is probably at an absolute stretch no more than $300K.

One thirty second spot of advertising for the World Series in 2014 cost $520K. Each night, there’s at least one thirty second spot and usually three or more 15 second spots, as well as mention by the announcers. There’s probably some bulk economics at work for this as a large ad buy, but I think it’s reasonable to think that they are dropping $1M per game.

If the series goes all seven games, that means they’ll have at a minimum spent more than 20 times as much to tell us how charitable they are than they are actually spending on charity. And that’s with me being very generous to the offense of the teams.

I’ve looked and this carrier has, like other carriers, provided free service to those affected by hurricanes in the past, as well as providing some support services in those areas to help people get chargers and phone use as well.

I’m glad this company provides those services. But I’d sure love to see them spend a lot more on the charity and a lot less making us think about their charity.

¹”But Brett, I thought you were off Twitter!” And I am, but I still maintain the Dev Game Club twitter and check it every so often even when watching the game. (back)

2 thoughts on “A little economic analysis”

  1. Oh, absolutely they are. Marketing, even if it’s telling people how charitable you are, is a reasonable business expense — you are spending money to bring in more customers.

    I mean, I know that they would be spending money advertising anyway, though maybe not on the World Series. And I’m sure the folks who are benefiting from the donations are happy to have them. Furthermore, the issues surrounding hurricane relief are complicated in and of themselves — to begin with, in most cases we are subsidizing bank risk with taxpayer dollars by guaranteeing that risk. That’s really not how capitalism is supposed to work, but it’s what happens here in late capitalism.

    Anyway, so far there have been two home runs, both in Game 1. And calculating roughly, telling us about that cost about $2M, for about 100 to 1 spent on marketing vs charity.

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