Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Logorama: Lack of Ads during Olympic Hockey...Noticeable!

by Jan Snyder

As I watched the Academy Awards, waiting for them to get to the good stuff, an award was presented for Best Animated Short Film. The winner was entitled Logorama. From the clip the Academy provided, it was obvious that the French film had as its theme the fact that everything is branded in one way or another. From what I could see, the movie showed a city where the logos were larger than the establishments.

                  No Blaring Viagra Ads here....

That little clip made me think back fondly to the Olympic hockey games (for more reasons that one) in Vancouver. Did you notice how nice the boards around the rink looked? No blaring ads for Viagra or car dealerships or beer companies. Just the nice look of blue and green that told us we were in a place with mountains and trees and the 2010 Olympic Games.

When I go back and watch really old games and see the pristine white boards now, it’s kind of a shock! We are all so used to seeing ads that I think sometimes we don’t really see them anymore. But, of course, subliminally, which is what the advertisers are shooting for anyway.

Over the weekend, I watched a couple of New York Ranger games televised from Madison Square Garden. Okay, this is New York – the City That Never Sleeps – but does that have to mean that every square inch of space is covered in neon signs? The Garden has found a way to add advertising at four places in the Arena. I have to assume that the signs aren’t impeding the fan’s view. They are high up on the glass and maybe are only seen by those watching on TV. But as each period of hockey begins, a new product is hawked on the Garden glass. One period it’s a sandwich shop, then a bank, and during the third period, a pizza place. Not only that, there are garish Budweiser signs atop entrances behind the glass.

Madison Square Garden needs more advertising? Really? The place has its own network! Does the NHL have any say in this? Since everyone is a copycat these days, I don’t expect it will be long before these ads are a given in every arena. Maybe there are more places where this is done, but I haven’t seen it yet.

Many arenas, including Mellon in Pittsburgh, have ads painted on every step in the walkways. There are even ads on the top of the interior dome of the igloo. So far, we’ve been spared the ugliness of some of the European leagues that adorn the player’s uniforms with ads. Please tell me they won’t eventually end up looking like NASCAR uniforms! In most rinks the four on-ice ads seem to be the limit. Maybe that is an NHL mandate to keep the ice from being totally covered with ads.

This isn’t just happening in hockey. When you watch baseball games, the rolling ads change behind the plate and along the tiers as the games go along. God forbid we should look at the same ad too long when there must be plenty of advertisers fighting for the right to clog up our TV screens.

While I’m ranting, can I also mention that every single thing in hockey now seems to be “sponsored”? The Powerball Power Play, the Sandwich of the Game, the Dental Practice Play that Made you Smile? I’ll give the admen points for creativity, but it’s gone so far overboard.

So I guess I don’t want to go back to the good old days of white boards, but I sure don’t like where all this logo-mongering or sponsoring every power play is taking us. If it keeps us enjoying the game we all love, I guess we’ll have to put up with it.

What do you think? When you are watching a game, do you find all the ads distracting? What are some of the “sponsored” activities at games you watch?

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