Media World: CNBC's claim that Jackson funeral helps Staples is silly

Imagine a distraught Michael Jackson fan who watched today's funeral. Perhaps the fan might say: "I'm so sad that the man responsible for the soundtrack of my youth is dead. Even worse, I notice I'm running low on office supplies. Maybe I should go to Staples! After all, that's the company whose name is on the venue where the event that's making my eyes well up with tears is being staged."

Sounds a little moronic, no? Well, that's the theory that CNBC's Darren Rovell is trying to advance.
The channel's sports-business reporter argues on his blog that Staples (SPLS) inked a 20-year $116 million deal for the naming rights deal to the facility that, before this week, was known primarily as the home of the Los Angeles Lakers.

"Staples has certainly got its bang for the buck, just factoring the attention that has come from the Lakers' four championships in that time period," he writes. "But all that is nothing compared to the exposure the office supplies company will get from having its name on the arena that will host Michael Jackson's funeral today."

Rovell then goes on to quote Eric Wright of "sponsorship evaluation firm" Joyce Julius Associates that Staples will get between $65 million and $75 million in "advertising exposure" from the funeral.

No doubt today's funeral is one of the most-watched events on the Internet and TV in history. Yet this is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard.

How do you measure "advertising exposure?" That's a vague marketing term, a fake value that sounds more impressive than it is. The dirty secret of sports marketing is that it's more art than science, although ad executives try to make it sound quantifiable to justify their expenditures to their bosses.

In reality, the last thing anyone will be thinking of is office supplies. Michael Jackson is not going be responsible for any of the $23.9 billion in revenue the Framingham, Massachusetts–based company is expected to earn by Wall Street.

A Staples spokesman had no immediate comment about today's events. Perhaps that's because, despite Rovell's best efforts, there's nothing to say about it.

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