Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Biggest Lie The Devil Ever Told

Here's one from the No, You Aren't Becoming Old And Bitter, Life Really Is Getting Worse File...

(In the 2010 Super Bowl) a total of 104 individual (commercial) messages aired, making it the first Super Bowl telecast to exceed 100. The 2001 game, by comparison, included 82 commercial messages that totaled 40 minutes and 15 seconds. - Ad Age

The extra 7+ minutes of pure ad fill isn't just annoying in it's own right, it's also just the tip of the iceberg. In-game sponsorships, on field signage, content that's sponsored by an advertiser... those have all gone through the roof as well. And since the NFL is one of the few television programs that have increased audience share in the past few years, the ad cash cow is just kicking out more milk, it's naive to think that it would go any other way.

Maybe we should just be contrarian here. The NFL is that rarest of American industries, in that it is ascendant. It directly employs a growing number of workers, albeit with high risk of concussion and a host of health issues. It does not outsource its work to the Third World. It indirectly employs tens of thousands of other workers, from concessions to marketing, from coaches to trainers, from reporters and broadcasters and their crews to sports books and fantasy honks and radio and print wretches, and so on, and so on.

But, um... is it so much to ask that the final and most important game follow the same rules as the rest of the year?

We already have a different overtime situation than the rest of the year, which is, well, absurd on its face, but since we haven't had an overtime game yet, easily enough ignored. There are also a billion more cameras on this game than, say, a regular season game in a low market, which means that the replay rules and challenges aren't really the same, either. And with all of these extra ads, not to mention the elongated halftime so we can shoehorn in a concert that no one needs, that also means that a team that wins by dominating time of possession and pounding out a win through the running game is even less likely to work. (You might want to take notice of that, AFC team, especially if you wind up playing the Packers.)

Finally, there's this. I get that some of you have to watch this game for the ads. I do, because my day job is in advertising, and some of the properties have relevance to my client list. (No, seriously.) But to the rest of you, who think that the ads are the best part of the game, or that you need to watch the game for the commerce? You are being lied to. The ads are all online, will appear on telecasts for months or years afterward, and... um...

THEY ARE FREAKING ADS.

You know, the same things you hate and ignore in every other show that you watch, and one of the reasons why you bought that spiffy Tivo or less spiffy DVR from your cable provider, or why you've cut the cable and gone straight to the Web for your entertainment. You really don't need to watch them. You won't be missing anything of any real importance.

And if you think the same of the game, you are right. And you are also reading the wrong blog. Moving on...

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