By Jack Hoffman
The first time, and only time, I went to a basketball game at the new Boston Garden- excuse me, Bank North Center – it was a complete culture shock. On every empty space of the venue was an ad for, you name it. But what impressed me the most was this massive electronic scoreboard high above the rafters covered with more ads than information about the game that was being played. The ads were so prominent I wasn’t sure if McDonalds was playing Dunkin Donuts!
Watch a baseball game, hockey or basketball game – you name it. On every pitch everywhere the puck is and wrapped around the scorers’ table an ad flashes for, once again, you name the product.
The Patriots have even scrimmaged with Reebok plastered on their practice shirts. How about those drivers who continuously drive around a circle at speeds up to 200 mph in a car painted with one of your famous consumer products and an advertiser who spends literally millions of dollars to see their name stitched on the drivers’ clothing. We are so influenced by consumer imagery we just about forget what we are paying hundreds of dollars to watch – a sporting event.
Advertising, or shall we say image making, has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. Check out Go Daddy a subscription service for going online. Their product is being sold by 6-foot-tall blonds with cleavage that could be easily attributed to the local plastic surgeon.
Beer commercials that play on the boys’ libido with once again blonds on a beach with pronounced cleavage. How about the Cadillac that can go 190 mph without the wipers being blown away? Wait a minute! How many cars are traveling at 190 MPH?
Advertisers, networks and all the rest that sell lots of this crap have gotten so bad they have bastardized the actual event, the movie we want to watch, the news we try to absorb and more. Oh, let’s not forget Janet Jackson’s nipples. I still want to meet someone who actually saw that nipple. And you still think that was a wardrobe challenge? If some of these advertises are playing on your libido I suggest tuning into HBO after 10 PM.
A local news show that can’t wait to see some victim crying and hear the buxom newscaster ask just how do you feel? See how many blonds will Fox “News” use? Well, wait until 6:24 p.m. and if you like watching commercials they run 4 minutes straight of your favorite products. I timed a 4-minute segment and 75% of the commercials were for cars. So much driving on a test track I can’t remember one car advertiser from another.
Image is so important to some advertisers that Staples bought the naming rights to the new sports center in LA for $100 million for 15 years. Is it really worth it?
Now we go to a movie and arrive just in time to be greeted by a slew of commercials and coming attractions that consume 15 to 18 minutes of get ‘em up aliens and some more stupid animations. This is not a kiddy audience or a kiddy movie we paid 10 bucks to see.
Just a friendly tip: arrive 15 minutes after the scheduled start time.
Isn’t it interesting that the best news network or the most informative programs are the ones on PBS and on the radio at NPR? Problem is so much private funding is needed to keep these gems on the air/airwaves we are now being bombarded with “pledge week” that once lasted a week to the now almost once every month.
Would I rather pay $40 per month and watch all the movies I want or an extra $15 per month to watch important sporting events? I joked when Disney 10 years ago paid $1 billion for ESPN. I asked: How much fly fishing can we watch? Well, in any case I wish I could pay a couple of bucks extra to watch a pawn shop show or some dangerous occupation like catching crabs in snow storms without being interrupted by an ad for some other action show.
The question is: Will we the audience be willing to pay extra money to be entertained without being pitched some product/service we don’t really need?