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What Went Wrong With FanDuel's Football Season Advertising Blitz?

FanDuel CEO: We may have gone overboard.

FanDuel spent the better part of last fall spending its newly claimed investor money on television ads with any network that would take it — which, for the uninitiated, is every TV network out there.

The company, which offers cash prizes for daily fantasy sports competitions, was racing for market share against rival DraftKings and Yahoo, plus potential competitors like ESPN. So it spent money. Millions and millions and millions of dollars.

“Someone said earlier that TV advertising doesn’t work. It does work for us. Very well,” said FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles, who spoke Thursday at Re/code‘s annual Code/Media conference at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, Calif. “In terms of talking to our audience, it was great.”

But FanDuel learned a few things, too. Like, for example, more does not always mean better.

“There’s nothing more interesting in life than your fantasy football team, but there’s nothing less interesting in life than your buddy’s fantasy football team,” Eccles said. “I think what we did was we reminded you about your buddy’s fantasy football team every fifteen seconds for several months.”

The salt in the wound is that the ads created a lot of attention for the industry from people it didn’t want to attract, like regulators. DraftKings was also spending like crazy, which didn’t help. So did the marketing campaign lead to all of the industry’s regulatory issues?

“Possibly, yeah,” said Eccles. “We put it on the radar.”

All of this means that, assuming FanDuel is still around come football season, the company will make a few changes to its marketing strategy. “We’re definitely going to market differently,” Eccles said. “We’re definitely going to spend differently, it probably won’t be as much.”

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