San Diego Chargers: how not to launch an email campaign

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AP Photo/Ed Zurga
AP Photo/Ed Zurga

In our July issue, we profiled the National Hockey League (NHL), which used a solution from e-Dialog to sell single tickets to fans that didn't live in their favorite team's city. Detroit expat living in Boston? No problem: when the Red Wings visit the Bruins, you'll get a personalized Red Wings-branded email touting the game.

Cool, right?

And then, in the National Football League (NFL), we have the San Diego Chargers, who sent personalized emails to fans of their division rivals the Kansas City Chiefs offering $10 discounts off ticket sales. Of course the Chargers had to send the deal to an editor at a Chiefs fanblog.

Some thoughts:

1)      The NHL's campaign is league-wide, while the Chargers actively solicited their opponent's fans on their own. Meaning individual hockey teams would be relatively insulated from widespread backlash and ridicule.

2)      It's clear that the Chargers had a database of their opponent's fans. After all, they sent the editor of the fanblog a personalized email hawking the ticket offer.

3)      This is why marketers need some intelligence in their email campaigns. I don't get the sense the Chargers realized they were marketing to their opponent's fans. The images around the emails were clearly designed for Chargers fans, not Chiefs fans.

4)      One word: Geolocation. Because while the Chargers are based in San Diego and the Chiefs are based in Kansas City, the blogger the Chargers targeted is apparently based in Brooklyn.

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