In promoting UFC 200 taking place on July 9th the UFC has made ad buys on Comedy Central during “Adult Swim.” It is more branded content than straight commercial and brings back King of the Hill’s Hank Hill and George Liquor from the Ren & Stimpy show.
The main reason for the buy is not only Dana White’s affection for Adult Swim but also the clear alignment of demographics. People who watch Adult Swim are the same type of people who like the UFC.
From the article on Adweek:
“The way the pay-per-view market works for us, we give them a spot and then they circulate it through all the cable channels. But our spots are never on Adult Swim,” said White. “Comic-Con is huge, and that demo is a very loyal fan base and hardcore, much like ours. We’d never had a presence on this network that is so strong with this young demographic.”
White reached out to Judge about creating an animated short, and Judge tapped friend and fellow UFC fan Kricfalusi. The spots took more than a year to create due to the red tape required to clear the rights to use Hank Hill (which is owned by Fox) and George Liquor, and getting Adult Swim on board. “They’re into funky, crazy new shit, and they were so supportive of this thing,” said White of the network.
The UFC is fully committed to marketing to the core fan. Almost every marketing effort is designed to attract men between the ages of 18 and 34 with an African-American ethnicity. Basic marketing is that you market to the people who are most likely to buy your product, not to persuade non-buyers to suddenly purchase your product or service.
One of the genius parts of this spot is that it doesn’t show knockouts or the kind of footage that people who aren’t necessarily already fans of the UFC characterize as “goofy” and “weird” and actually end up deterring them. Creating an advertisement that doesn’t follow the usual images and messaging is a great move and I’m sure will end up being a huge success for the UFC.