Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The ShysterBall Link Of The Day, Brought To You By Johnsonville Sausages!

Russ Smith has had it with in-game advertising:

That aside, what really bugs this spectator—and mind you, I’ve got nothing against advertising, and, like a lot people, really get a hoot out of the Geico cavemen and the Aflac duck—is that companies are now infiltrating the broadcast of the game itself, instead of just between innings. For example, last Saturday when the Yankees and Angels were shown on Fox, one of the announcers said, after the Halos broke the game open, “Here’s the Flomax game summary,” and recounted the scoring. An inning or so later, we heard about the “game changing play”—Vlad Guerrero’s homer—“brought to you buy Sharp’s Aquos TV.”
He goes on to list a dozen or two more. The phenomenon does bug me a bit, but I find the degree to which it bugs me depends on how good the announcer is at integrating it into the gamecast. George Grande on Reds' broadcasts seems to do it pretty well and it doesn't bother me. The Indians' team isn't as smooth with the segues and it interrupts the flow. This should be self-correcting too, in that, I would guess anyway, the more conversational it all sounds the more effective the ad is. Maybe it's phony, but when Grande and Chris Welsh mention J.T.M. burgers in the context of the cookout they're going to have on tomorrow's off day, it works. When they stop in the middle of game analysis to plug "J.T.M. burgers -- bring them to YOUR next cookout," it sticks out in a bad way.

Ultimately this is all about damage minimization because all of these plugs are bad, even if they are necessary.


dlf said...

This is FAR from a new phenomenon. Harken back to the days of yore when Mel Allen would remark about another Ballantine Blast from Mantle or White Owl Whallops from DiMaggio ... I would suggest that during the 40s and 50s, there was MORE overt product placement during television shows, including sports, than now when most -- but by no means all -- of the adds are between innings.

mooseinohio said...

I can say that after watching FOX push House on me during the playoffs and WS of 2004 that I vowed then never to watch an episode - still haven't. Also I cannot recall the last time that any of this advertising actually persuaded me to buy the product - isn't that the point?

Alex said...

I like how he says he favors the Aflac duck, but is fed up with the Gillette trivia question. Anyone remember who sponsored the trivia question on TBS for what seems like 20 years? (hint: it's Aflac)

Skip: Now it's time for the Aflac trivia question.
Duck: Aflac!
Skip: Thank you...

I don't even get to watch/listen to Braves games any more, and I already miss him.

Levi Stahl said...

I figure I'm one of the people who should stand up and take the blame for this. Since getting TiVo five years ago, I have pretty much not watched any commercials. In October, when we have friends over to watch the playoffs nearly every night, we start the game about forty minutes late, then speed through commercials and pitching changes.

There are more people watching like us every day, and advertisers figure they've got to get our attention somehow. Thus we get the annoying in-game stuff.

So, I apologize for my part in this--but I sure a hell ain't going back to the old way.

Chadillac said...

I think Baseball Tonight on ESPN is even doing this. I seem to remember them having a Thunder Bats (brought to you by the movie 'Tropic Thunder') or some nonsense.

So, not only do I pay for my satellite subscription, and put up with commercials on ESPN, I now have in-show advertising. Nice.

Ernesto said...

The worst was when Baseball Tonight did an entire episode around the opening of "The Rookie." Anyone else remember this?

Rob said...

ESPN is pretty bad about this. Am I the only one that thinks it undermines their credibility as a news organization?

Yes, I know their not the Nightly News and that Stu Scott is not Ted Koppel, but SportsCenter sure acts like they're trying to "break" stories when they have the chance. At least when they're not about to cut to the Budweiser Hot Seat.

Osmodious said...

The two most annoying things to me: the YES Network shoving those bloviating idiots at Faux News down my throat 30 times per game and...and this is the biggie...the ridiculously HUGE (and now animated) pop up ads that take over the lower part of the screen. It started with the little translucent 'screen bugs', then those started to grow and become solid, then they started doing little animations with them, and since they got away with all of that stuff and people kept watching, they made them bigger and bigger. Now they take up the lower 1/3 - 1/2 of the screen, and half the time cover something actually important.

Family guy made fun of this by having a whole little vignette take place (the Simpsons, with Quagmire show up to, um, 'entertain' Marge) that the characters in the show actually stopped to watch. That was funny, but the point they made...that we might actually be interested in what is happening on the 'main screen'...was a good one.

As to the in game dlf said, the broadcasts on both radio and TV have had this for years (damn, he used my 'Ballantine Blast' line! I don't have any other examples, either...). The ultimate ridiculousness has occurred at the revered Yankee Stadium, though, that is not tolerable. All that other stuff is annoying and I would prefer they didn't do it (the REPLAYS are sponsored?...really?), but this one is...well, let me 'splain. Whenever the Yankees pitcher strikes out a batter, they play the PC Richards 'sound'. It's this whistle-like thing, 5 notes, that gets stuck in your fricken head and makes you want to firebomb every PC Richards store...and they play it after every strikeout. Ugh.