Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Super (Sneaky) Advertising

Crap, here I am, stuck again.

Some time yesterday I had an idea for a blog post, one that was actually about writing. Nothing huge, mind you. The way I envisioned it, it would be short and sweet, a couple of paragraphs at best.

I don’t know what I was doing when it came into my head. I might have been actually writing, or we may have been driving the Magpie to the bus station (she came home for a visit this weekend; it’s good to be a senior with no classes on Friday!), or I may have been doing something else. “I like that,” I thought. “I may have to use that on Monday.”

Yeah.

Except I didn’t write it down.

And so, here we are.

I didn’t watch the Super Bowl last night, but I looked at the boxscore when it was over, took a spin through the ‘play by play’ list, and all I could think was, “Wow, this looks like the most boring Super Bowl ever!” If you watched it, was it as bad as the recap made it look?

A lot is being made over Peyton Manning kissing the Papa John’s pizza guy on TV, and at least twice telling interviewers, “I’m going to drink a lot of Budweisers.” Questions of taste in beer and pizza aside, some vilified Manning for blatant, inappropriate product placement. Seems all the goodwill Peyton garnered for beating Tom Brady and the Patriots was immediately squandered.

I have to wonder, though: is it all that different from “I’m going to Disney World”? Maybe, in the sense that those commercials are commercials, and a post-game press conference or sideline interview isn’t expected to be about product placement, right?

Oh. Hmm. Okay, then.

Granted, comparing a hockey coach’s mid-season, post-game interview with a spontaneous, post-game event is a bit of an apples-to-oranges thing. The truth is, just about everything in sports these days, especially the big events, is about advertising and product placement. How many times did the announcers mention that the game was being played in Levi’s Stadium? I’m willing to bet that, just before the opening kickoff, viewers were told that the kickoff was being sponsored by Met Life or Go Daddy or someone. And that half-time show, that was all Pepsi, right?

I wouldn’t be overly upset with Manning. For all we know, he might just equate Budweiser with beer, the way millions of people think a copy machine is a Xerox or a facial tissue is a Kleenex or a can of soda is a Coke. Just wait–it won’t be long until the team names in the end zones take up half the space they do now, with a sponsor name taking up the rest, or the uniforms the players wear are covered with advertisements. I’ll be more upset by that then a throw-in plug that may or may not have been an accident.

That’s it for me. Did you watch the game? What did you think?

8 Responses

  1. Can't get away from advertising these days, especially with such a massively watched thing as the Superbowl! I'm the worst for not writing ideas down, but I figure that the good ones will resurface eventually. I'm sure it'll come back to you.

  2. Yes, I watched the game. It was a crappy game (and not just because the Panthers lost). Nothing spectacular. Kind of sloppy, really. And it was warm (76 deg) in San Francisco. In February. What's up with that? I don't remember SF ever being that warm in the winter.

    I did notice Manning mention Budweiser a couple of times. Yeah, no different than saying "We're going to Disneyland." It's all about advertising anymore.

  3. Wow. I personally think that's a little beyond, using the after game talk to plug a product, but maybe that's me.

    Post-it notes are my portable memory. If I don't write it down, it's like it didn't exist.

  4. Not being a football fan, I tuned in only to catch the half time show, and the presentation of the trophy… I discovered two things: One – I don't understand the Beyonce fascination. Nope. Nu uh. I just don't get it. (but boy, can Bruno Marz can dance!) And two – Budweiser's ad people are officially out of ideas.

  5. This comment brought to you by…
    -Nick–Ideas resurfacing if they're good is my experience, too. It's still annoying, though!
    -Sheena-kay–I'm wondering if they're ever going to just drop the game and do nothing but advertisements, since that seems to be all anyone talks about in the end!
    -Stacy–I didn't realize it was that warm, but I heard some complaints about the field being subpar.
    -Donna–it's hard to say if it was a deliberate plug or not (I have since learned he owns a couple of Budweiser distribution companies, so while he's not an official spokesman (he can't be, as an active NFL player) for Bud, he's got skin in the game; likewise, he owns 20+ Papa John's restaurants). It looks a little hinky, though.
    -Dan–I didn't watch the halftime show, but aside from you and Rudy Giuliani, I've heard mostly good things about Beyoncé. I'm not a big fan of her music, style-wise, but I seem to remember she put on a pretty impressive show a few years back.

  6. The first part of your post made me laugh. Oh, what great novels may have been lost over the years for want of a pen and notebook for writing down the idea!

    I missed the pizza kiss but caught the Bud comment when Manning was getting the trophy. I wondered if I'd misheard or if he'd taken a hard hit and wasn't thinking right. Nope, apparently just making some money on the side. I guess with his retirement approaching, he's gotta grab it where he can. Nonetheless, 99% of his interactions with the press have been humble and respectful, so I can forgive one low-class plug for beer. 😛

  7. -Lexa–I can let the Bud thing slide if he's the sort of guy who refers to beer as "Buds" because that's what he drinks (though supposedly a couple years back, he very specifically said "Bud Light" when talking about drinking beers after the game). From what I'm reading, he may have a whole new set of problems, if the story I'm hearing about his Tennessee days are accurate.

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