Marketing as a business activity is defined as presenting products or services in such a way as to make them desirable. I’m okay with that.
There’s nothing wrong with a flashy package, attractive models, or serene scenery to promote the basic idea that a particular product will make you sexier, happier, more serene, more attractive, or what have you.
Sports Marketing, on the other hand, doesn’t care if the process makes a company’s services more desirable. Sports Marketing is about getting the name in front of the consumer in hopes that he’ll buy some.
Titles sponsors feature a type of sports marketing that goes above and beyond the bounds of polite society and frequently intrudes into the murky areas of tackiness and bad taste.
Enough of a setup; let me get to the examples.
Take Budweiser for instance. Budweiser is a beer, an intoxicant. If you drink it you’ll get ‘high.’ Drink a little more and you get ‘buzzed.’ More still and you get ‘inebriated.’ After you get inebriated, if you keep going, you’re going to wind up ‘trashed.’
Since ‘trashed’ is not attractive, Budweiser commercials feature lots of people who got to a bar all night, never drink but one beer, and ‘know when to say when.’ It makes Budweiser sound like a responsible company, but the reality is that very few of Budweiser’s customers act in that manner.
Viagra is another product whose makers seem to think that romantic, impossible images will reinforce the concept that their product is necessary and desirable for a healthy lifestyle. They show smiling couples and beautiful scenery all right.
Guess what? Every Viagra commercial I’ve ever seen ends up with the couple sitting in ‘his’ and ‘hers’ bathtubs holding hands. Most of the time they aren’t even looking at one another. My Daddy used to say, “Son, the cure for anything is enough of it.”
In the arena of sports marketing, particularly title sponsors, things are getting out of hand. Last year I wrote about the Heluva Good 400 NASCAR race sponsored by Heluva Good Cream Cheese.
College Bowl games are another area where marketing, and title sponsors, are ruining the experience. Take the Beef o’ Brady’s Bowl, the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl, and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, as examples.
I don’t know about you, but if they’re going to those extremes, shouldn’t they employ some imagination? How about the Kennel Ration Dog Food Bowl? Maybe they should have the Campbell’s Soup Bowl?
Since the bowl games are the college versions of the playoffs, and since President Obama let everyone down in his bid to establish a playoff schedule for colleges, the bowl games decide the National Champion. Does that mean that the two worst teams should be playing in the Tidy Bowl Game?
In more familiar territory, however, Wrangler Jeans has become the title sponsor for the National Finals Rodeo. So it’s not just the NFR anymore, it’s the WNFR.
Wrangler, at least, is making strides in their truth in advertising campaign. Now when they show a woman in a pair of jeans, they provide a rear-view look so she’s know what sort of impression she’ll make as she walks away.
Unfortunately, Wrangler is also doing the same thing for men’s jeans, which, quite frankly, I could live without.
Next week, how to find the gay caballeros at a rodeo with a pair of Wrangler Jeans and a Ouija Board.