2013’s Biggest Marketing Gambles (And Payoffs)

We’re not halfway through 2013 and already companies in the U.S. and overseas are making bold moves to reach new audiences and move ahead in each respective industry. From snarky ads to $100 million purchases, businesses owners are betting big on their new consumers in 2013.

Netflix and ‘House of Cards’

Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have always done one thing and done it well — house a library of TV shows and movies that already aired or ran their course in the theaters. It was a business that did well and didn’t trample in the territory of big networks and cable providers — until now.

In 2012, Netflix forever changed the model of its company and risked $100 million for the rights to “House of Cards,” the political drama starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. The company outbid popular TV giants like HBO and AMC to make “House of Cards” the first original series in the company’s short history. Netflix essentially bet it all on the success of the show and it was a bet that paid off. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “House of Cards” was Netflix’s most watched piece of content when it debuted in February and is even generating some buzz over the possibility of winning an Emmy.

The Lesson

Take risks, and be willing to make the move that could make or break your place in the top spot. That doesn’t mean spend recklessly; it means don’t settle for coasting in the middle.

NFL and Attendance

The most successful sports league in America has a problem — less people are going to the games. That may seem like a strange problem for a league whose regular season games outdo a World Series baseball game in TV ratings, but it’s the truth. The viewing experience in the fan’s living room has improved so much, going to the games isn’t worth the money like it used to be. After all, according to, NFL Sunday Ticket, the TV package that lets you watch every game each week, is $224. Taking a family of four to a single game can cost more than $1000 when you factor in seats, food, drinks and merchandise.

So the NFL is trying to sweeten the in-stadium experience by adding cameras in the locker rooms so fans can see the coaches speeches and other halftime happenings on the jumbo-tron when the players aren’t on the field, according to the Washington Post. The new addition won’t take effect until the 2013-2014 season, so we have yet to see how this will sway attendance.

The Lesson

Know what your competitors offer. If you work in a broad industry where consumers are using your product in several different ways (say, buying from third-party retailers instead of you), market in a way that makes them want to get their product from the source.

Samsung Galaxy S3

Since 2007, Apple’s reigned supreme in the smart phone market with the iPhone. It’s a leading device that never really had a stiff competitor until now — Samsung’s Galaxy S3. The Android phone maker decided to take some personal shots at Apple, a company they’ve had a legal battle with over patent issues, mocking the fan base of the coveted Apple products with the phone’s ads.

Considering the popularity of iPhones and the passion their buyers have, the ads were a risky move but the phone is doing well. According to, the Galaxy S3 outsold the iPhone 4S in the quarter leading up to the iPhone 5 release and is not far behind Apple’s latest and greatest new phone. The commercials and phone’s success can’t be directly related, but it looks like Samsung had a good bit of fun making the ads.

The Lesson

Poke fun at your competitor. There’s nothing dirty or mean-spirited about it. You might actually have some fun and expose some disadvantages of those trying to sell against you.

Written by Ryan Lum

Ryan Lum is the founder and editor of Creative Guerrilla Marketing. He is passionate about creative marketing, social media and design. Connect with him on LinkedIn,Twitter or Google+

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