NFL advertising has hit rock bottom
Daily fantasy sports are eating my soul. And I don’t even play them.
“I just want to kick him in the stomach.”
In our home, there are a handful of crimes that elicit this punishment. Here’s a sampling:
- Anyone who uses the phrase, “What say you?”
- Wil Seabrook, a contestant on Rock Star: INXS.
- Tubby McDouchenozzle, who punches the air 30 times during every NFL game I watch.
You know Tubby. Tubby is seared into your brain, as he is in mine. For reasons apparently celebratory, Tubby punches the air as if he accomplished something at the apex of FanDuel’s recent primary commercial. It plays over and over again in every pre-game, post-game and in-between-game TV show that is somewhat tangentially related to sports. Of course, TV viewers have also been treated to Tubby’s exhortations many times during nearly every actual NFL game.
There are a lot of games. There is a lot of Tubby. I’ve had it with Tubby. I want to kick Tubby in the stomach.
I don’t watch TV commercials. I don’t have to. As with all evolved humans in 2015, I let my DVR do the heavy lifting. No television show is worth watching if I have to watch it live and sit through commercials. With one exception: NFL games.
That’s it. You got me. I have to watch it live. Except for the times when I have to pee and can excuse myself to the bathroom, I endure the television commercials. I wish I had to pee more often.
It used to be that I quickly grew sick of beer and car commercials during a televised NFL game-watching experience. Now, I long for the novelty of a simple, seductive car commercial. I can afford none, but I want to buy them all.
What I am not driven to do is participate in FanDuel or DraftKings or whatever-the-name-is-of-that-Rich-Eisen-third-rate-outfit-commercial that dominates every paused moment during an NFL game. Like most people not given to wearing backward-facing baseball caps, these ads are not sufficiently tempting enough to separate me from my shekels.
How ineffective are these ads? Well, I had to fact-check the Tubby ad to verify it was FanDuel’s and not DraftKings. Turns out, I was wrong. It was DraftKings. Most of you still reading had no idea. If you did recognize the error, please know there are support groups that can help.
Real people are shown celebrating their fantasy football winnings from DraftKings. www.ispot.tv
Now clarified, I assure you I will not remember which outfit Tubby is shilling for in a short amount of time. I cannot keep them straight. I am equally repelled by all as they intrude on my game day experience. These online casinos — excuse me, daily fantasy sports purveyors — are equally ubiquitous at offering the same product. Or so it appears. Repeatedly.
The maddest of men
Differentiation is the goal of any marketer. To me, these ads are an epic fail. Except they’re not. I’m the outlier. How do I know? Because they must be working. We know because we know advertising on national television does not come cheaply. At every run-up to the Super Bowl, we’re treated with news stories about how expensive the ads are. Reaching into your wallet via your eyeballs and firmly planted buttockial region is an expensive proposition. But clearly — it works. Because it keeps happening. The spending is immense:
- From Business Insider: Fantasy sports companies spend so much on commercials they’re moving the needle on TV ad spending
- From Legal Sports Report: FanDuel Ascends To No. 1 In TV Commercial Spend With $17 Million In A Week
- From The Wall Street Journal: Big Media Catch Daily-Fantasy-Sports Bug
If you read that last item from WSJ, you’ll realize we’re not just talking about advertising spending. Major media properties like Walt Disney Co., Time Warner Inc. and 21st Century Fox Inc. are trying to buy stakes in these new titans of cash printing. The big boys want in.
As if we didn’t have enough reason to resent Congress, we can lay the ubiquity of DFS advertising at their ever-idle feet. Due to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), online cash cows like FanDuel, DraftKings, DailyMVP, DraftOps and others are able to conduct big business via your smartphone, tablet or PC. At present, the legality of DFS is still a states’ issue, meaning absent a federal overarching law, there will be plenty of suckers to plunder for the foreseeable future. The air will continue to be punched by fists. For those on the losing end (whom we never see in those ads, of course) objects may be thrown. And stomachs may be kicked.
Which means your television and a certain number of abdomens are still at risk. DFS is considered by the UIGEA to be a “skill-based” game, so it merits exemption from federal online gambling laws. Kinda. And probably only temporarily. These companies will advertise you into submission while they can. The handwriting is on the wall — regulatory change is coming that will likely end this parade. It’s up to state and local prosecutors to wage their battles against DFS. For now, that’s it. That’s all we NFL viewers have as a line of defense.
What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love and betting the under?
Lest you think this is a screed against gambling, allow me to reassure you it’s not. I don’t care. Gamble away. I’ve visited a few casinos in my time. The problem here is the advertising.
I get that it’s a numbers game. Repetition is key to making a lasting impression. But over-saturation is key to eliciting a lasting repulsion. The kind of repulsion that can take an otherwise peace-loving woman like my wife and turn her into a judgmental brute that wants to kick poor Wil Seabrook in the stomach — all for the crime of not making the cut as INXS’ new singer. She really blurted this out back when Seabrook was having his 15 minutes of fame in 2005. It is the standard by which we now judge the likability of any given television personality: Do you want to kick this person in the stomach?
For the record, it is my opinion that Seabrook deserves a kinder fate than to be savagely attacked by my wife. Nobody really deserves to be kicked in the stomach. If we’re going to kick Seabrook in the stomach it’s going to be because of the way he spells his first name. One “L”? I’m calling b.s. on that.
Tubby, however — he’s on the list. Again, the list of stomach kickees is not limited to DFS shillers and struggling singers. Although I’m seduced by car ads, I’ve had it with the abomination that is GMC’s current campaign. Will Arnett and The Who — you made the list.
Am I being too harsh? Let’s review: The Who were once titans of rock. I was thrilled to have gotten to see them in concert during my college days. Although I never forgave them for having The Clash open for them in Seattle and T Bone Burnett open for them in Portland on the next night. I went to school in Portland. I. Could. Have. Seen. The. Clash.
Arnett once ruled the world of comedy with scene-stealing moments in the beloved Arrested Development, the once-cute-before-it-ate-itself Up All Night and numerous films. He then divorced America’s Sweetheart, Amy Poehler, and took a lead role in the abominable The Millers.
Somewhere along the line, Arnett grew a taste for corporate shilling. He is the voice for more advertisements than you know, the worst of which are the face-to-palm-inducing GMC ads. Led off by The Who’s “Eminence Front,” (from 1982, their last-ever culturally relevant song) Arnett proffers some of the worst ad copy ever written, “A well-put-together man is said to be sharp. At GMC …” and the equally ham-fisted, “A pitcher who can paint the corners is known as a Rembrandt. At GMC …”
Someone needs to be kicked in the stomach.
Yes, I blame Arnett and The Who for these naked cash grabs, just as much as I blame Tubby for shilling for DraftDuel or whoever. But let’s be clear: someone wrote this crap. Even worse, a series of someones approved them. With so much stomach kicking to go around, I fear my wife will strain her leg.
Did you ever think we’d get to a point where bumpers for network TV shows, KFC ads or — God help us — Denis Leary voiceovers would be a relief? So please stop, NFL advertisers. We’re tuning out. These crimes against communication are ruining my NFL experience. You get it, right? What say you?
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