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How To Lose Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars On a Bad Ad – Modelo & The UFC

By November 14, 2022September 14th, 2023Marketing, Online Ads, Small Business, Website, Zach Webber

Want to learn how to lose a ton of money in a matter of minutes thanks to a great ad and terrible form? Just follow Modelo’s example and what they did with their ad that ran during the live Pay-Per-View coverage of UFC 281, Israel Adesanya vs. AlexPereira.

Good Intentions. Good Campaign

The campaign run by Modelo during UFC 281 was, for all intents and purposes, a great campaign idea. During the live coverage of the fight, Modelo ran an add that lasted about ninety seconds with a QR code that would let viewers enter their contact details for a chance to win an all-out, Modelo style watch party for the next UFC event, UFC 282. Modelo is an official sponsor of the UFC and so calculating or estimating the cost to run an ad of that length is difficult, but some estimates for ads during big cards like UFC 282 come in at around $100,000 per thirty seconds. Run the numbers and it’s fair to assume that just the ad space cost Modelo somewhere in the realm of $150,000 for ninety seconds. That’s not counting the cost of production, testing, approval, etc.

Where It All Went Wrong

So far, you’re probably thinking to yourself, this seems like a cool campaign, what’s the issue? The issue, although tiny, probably cut their conversion rate in half, probably even more. The real problem came about when the user got through the initial age-verification and was presented with a form asking for standard contact info; name, email, and phone number.

It’s very common with today’s design and usability standards to include prompts or placeholders in contact form fields to give guidance or instruction on what content, and what format is acceptable for that field. When contact form fields have specific formatting requirements, but don’t specify what will be accepted and trigger an error message, this can frustrate users, be inaccessible for those with visual or cognitive disabilities, and ultimately reduce conversion rates drastically.

This brings us to the root issue. The phone number. How do you format your phone number when filling out a form online?


(123) 456-7890?





Should we keep going? Now, unfortunately for Modelo, they didn’t provide any specific instructions or formatting guidance and they wouldn’t allow users to submit their form unless it met the formatting exactly. What was the correct format you ask? We don’t know, because nobody in the room could figure out exactly what combination of dashes, parentheses, and spaces Modelo required for the form to even be submitted.


What This Means For Conversion Rates

A high-performing landing page for a direct form-fill like like this one sits at about 10%. A great conversion rate would be closer to 15%, but with such a huge audience, it’s safe to assume that a 10% form-fill conversion would be considered a success over at Modelo HQ.

Typically, after a single failed form submission, only about 50% of users will bother making another attempt. This halving continues for almost every subsequent attempt after that. Take a successful campaign conversion rate and cut it in half for the second attempt; 5%. Cut it in half again for the third try…. 2.5%… and again for the fourth try…. 1.125%. I didn’t try after the third re-try. And nobody else in the room did either.

After the whole room had tried three or four times, we all gave up. The effective conversion rate for our room of viewers and users was a whopping 0%.

What’s The Takeaway?

The big takeaway is this; one issue with your form can kill your entire campaign. You can take a potential 10% or 15% converting landing page and bring it down to ZERO with a frustrating issue like this one. Take the time to test your form. This does not mean completing all your forms and fields with the formatting that you know will work, but it means giving your landing page to somebody who is representative of the actual end user and letting them complete the forms how a regular visitor or user might. Even better, get multiple testers, from multiple backgrounds with a wide range of tach-savyness. Multiple devices would be a good idea. Dare I say, test it on a tablet as well?

It doesn’t take much to ruin a great campaign with a technical issue. Modelo could have generated hundreds of thousands of leads, but instead they ended up with the equivalent in dollars wasted on a campaign that didn’t get much farther than a broken form on a landing page.

If you want somebody to test out your forms and make some strategic recommendations on improving your site and how to make your user experience on the site better for everybody from all backgrounds and levels of experience, reach out to our Support and Strategy team here at Big Red Jelly. One of our foundational process steps before we even look at other digital marketing strategies is making sure that your funnels, pages, and lead generations tools are all looking and functioning properly.

If you are an agency looking to help potential customers avoid a fatal PR calamity, you might consider becoming and expert at writing an RFP response. This will boost your capacity to compel new customers to work with you and make you more money.

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