Sunday, February 5, 2017

That Large Game on Sunday: Go Big or Go Home

A rustic-colored Toyota comes into view. It pulls off the road slowly to a shoulder and turns off. The Hamsa Hand still swings in the rear-view mirror after a couple of seconds. The figure seated to the left does not move.
Suddenly, the driver-side door opens. Out steps a hooded FIGURE in a bright red winter coat with fur outlining the hood. The Figure pushes the door shut and looks around at the desolate land. Leaning against the vehicle, the Figure reaches into the coat pocket and pulls out a small piece of paper, which reads: "FEBRUARY 21, 2010 -- I CREATED A BLOG SO I COULD GET A JOB AS A SPORTS WRITER SOMEDAY."
The Figure lowers the coat hood, revealing a 26-year-old woman, who is staring deeply at a vacant lot with papers flying all around it. She narrows her eyes.

"I must rebuild."

I'm going to say the dreaded words and pray that I don't get slammed with a royalty fee for using it. I literally can't afford that.

(ahem) The Super Bowl.

It's the one day where everyone tries out their best attempts at indoor grilling, making elaborate dips, drinking as much cheap beer as possible, and most importantly, critiquing the types of advertisements that show up during this Game of Games. Channeling our inner Joel, Crow, and Tom Servo of Mystery Science Theater 3000 has become the norm, and to be honest, it's not a bad thing. It's become a way to bond.

Year in and year out, bathroom breaks are hard to come by, as the masses have been fed with either the catchphrases of the era...

...the most terrifying of...things...

...or super exciting previews for a show (suddenly getting canceled--lol The Good Wife) or a highly-anticipated movie coming out soon.

Over the years, it has become public knowledge about how disgustingly expensive it is to purchase thirty seconds of space for advertisement. Last year, it was reported that it will cost you $5 MILLION for a thirty second advertisement. Yes. Five million. In comes the joke where: "I will probably never see five million dollars in my lifetime, let alone thirty seconds." The only way that Super Bowl coordinators and producers have gotten away with doing this is for two main reasons: One, this is the one championship out of the Big Four that non-sports fans are more likely to watch--aka, "checking out the season finale of 'Sports'"--and two, this is the only sport of the Big Four that has a one-and-done championship final. C'mon, the latter is pure logic, but the one thing that fires up overall ratings are the advertisements that catch the attention of the viewers who don't even follow football. It's a marriage of agendas. Some will walk in, saying, "I want to see the new trailer for (insert movie here--probably Star Wars), so I have to sit and wait," or, "I need a reason to laugh and tweet," or, "OMG LUKE BRYAN'S BUTT IN JEANS. YAAAAS GAGA." Forgive me for typing that last one, but that's pure truth right there. Facebook and Twitter have become existent proof that everyone gets involved to some capacity in Super Bowl shenanigans.

That said... this is a Super Bowl itself for advertisement agencies and companies. Every year, they have to pull out all the stops and literally "go big or go home." We've seen some of the silliest advertisements coming from companies like Doritos, and we've also seen some extreme tearjerkers from companies like Budweiser. Depending on where you live, you'll also get some regional advertisements. In various regions last year, The Church Of Scientology shelled out some pennies to advertise for thirty seconds. Personally, I didn't see it, but according to Twitter at the time, it happened, and of course, I searched it out and found it. You'll also run into instances where companies bought out a bunch of ad space, but they only have one or two commercials to compensate for that. Oh, you know what I mean about the repeat commercials, and how they might not have even been any good to begin with, and how you'll have to either sit through them again or run to the bathroom and do your business in record time in order to not miss anything decent. Good times.

You'll also get the naysayers who claim: "You have all of this money to sponsor and advertise and product-place, and you can't place the money where it matters most?" To be fair, you're going to get those people everywhere, where they say the money should go toward more efficient means such as the education system. Okay, that's true. That's very, very true. The job market is not that great, and people aren't getting paid enough in full-time jobs to survive properly and be loan-free. I get that. But just like a game show, companies are firing their shots to win the biggest impact on the masses. It literally is an escape for viewers, and it's their job to be the more memorable brand. We're watching them do their job. Does that make us lazy? No. That's like saying we're horrible for celebrating Thanksgiving because of tortured turkeys and advertisements mentioning the holiday. Everybody acknowledges Super Bowl Sunday to some capacity, even though they may not particularly partake in it. That's just how today's culture and society is. You know it's there--it's all dependent on how much you ultimately consume. You could be on the outer circle, for all we know, but if you're a Lady Gaga fan, or you just happen to have plans with someone who's throwing a party, into the bullseye of the circle you go!

Advertising during any sporting event is a sport in itself. Sponsors are tacked onto just about any televised event or radio broadcast. It's the necessary evil that we must acknowledge. Oh, Pepsi is the sponsor? Bottles of 3/4 filled Pepsi have to be on the broadcast tables, because they have to be prominent, and it has to look like they've been consumed! The most obvious one for NFL broadcasts are Microsoft Surface Pro tablets being placed on the desks during the halftime and post-game reports and on the field by players to go over previous and future plays. You may be annoyed by it, or you may just blow it off and ignore the fact that the brand is everywhere. You're not a bad person for possibly having either thought toward it, but it isn't hard to ignore the fact that advertising has a pure death grip on the game itself--not just the athletes off of the field.

Seeing it from both ends, it's rather annoying. I'm still a sports fan, and I enjoy watching the game. But it is also irritating to see practices from the field I studied in college. It's white-collar warfare, while you get these pictures on your news feed:

I seriously had to make this myself because every search engine and social media outlet failed me.
Oh well.
It's the world that we live in, but morality, business, and pleasure are becoming way too heavily integrated into our society. We can't enjoy a game without getting flooded with ads. They say that children are exposed to at least 25,000 advertisements per year. Per. Year. [source for statistic] It's a business that has to squeeze in their products, all while shaping it to be pleasurable for adults and create a buzz for them to talk about it with others. I hate to sound like a social justice warrior here, but while advertising for a brand is all well and good, I'm pretty sure that the financial values are a bit ridiculous and that they're definitely not going into the right things. I digress on the matter.

This Sunday, it's going to be big. Not just for the athletes and fans, but for the big businesses and conglomerates. Which side will you be on? Where will you go big?

-- Stephanie

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