If you’ve watched the first two games of the World Series, you may have noticed the aberrant placement of the recognizable YouTube “Play” button logo on the wall directly behind home plate.
Many Twitter users pointed out that when the camera angle was from behind the pitcher’s mound, the logo was often in the middle of the screen, just like it appears over a still shot of a YouTube video before you hit play. Without a doubt, this was no accident.
Here’s how it looked to those watching on Fox:
Although some marketing experts considered the ad a win for YouTube, others, including NBC Sports blogger Craig Calcaterra, were more critical:
That ‘play’ button is smack dab in the middle of the screen, just as it would be for an actual YouTube video. Heck, when a right-handed batter was up, the thing looked like it was actually hovering in front of the umpire’s shoulder or catcher’s head. It was unquestionably designed to be there and YouTube is likely pleased that everyone was talking about it during the game and continues to talk about it today.
Calcaterra and others point out that the logo was distracting and took fans out of the action. And while YouTube may be happy with how much attention it’s receiving, is it really making people feel good about the brand?
(As a side note, I’d hate to be on the marketing team for Budweiser, which had the ad directly to the left of YouTube’s that no one will ever remember.)
It wasn’t all bad for YouTube. Promoting its live pay-TV service, the brand incorporated live TV footage into an advertisement, perhaps in a way never seen before. As commentator Joe Buck started to go to commercial before the first pitch, the broadcast morphed seamlessly into a YouTube ad introducing the platform’s “new way to watch.” The two-minute commercial went on to feature several other Fox shows.
Clearly, both the ad placement and groundbreaking commercial are meant to entice people to check out the new service. YouTube has been facing greater pressure as Facebook has moved into its market share. And now, the brand looks to compete more directly with live-streaming giants Netflix and Hulu.
Game 3 between the Astros and Dodgers is tomorrow night. As the series moves to Houston, will the YouTube logo follow?