Anyone tuning in to Atlanta Braves games on the radio may have noticed some very odd things – besides a cornucopia of losing. It’s the ads.
After about seven innings — for those of you uninitiated in baseball, an inning is a period of time during which batters open and close their batting gloves 112 times and the third base coach lovingly slaps a three teammate’s tushies – it is evident to any sentient listener that the Atlanta Braves radio network has sold a grand total of eight sponsorships for their 162 regular season broadcasts.
There are breaks between every half-inning, which means four ads at a time run 18 times during the game, not counting all the time during the pre-game and post-game analysis. (Analysis: You see the way he touched Rodriguez’s derriere over at third base, Bob? That really gave the team the shot of adrenaline it needed to beat the spread.) There are also highly entertaining pitching changes, to slow the blistering pace of contests, and to provide more desperately needed advertising opportunities. By the end of one complete broadcast, each of the sponsors has disseminated its messages to the entire Southeast region something like a dozen times.
Times 162, not including Spring Training games.
You get the idea. Ad nauseam.
Now if I had the opportunity to reach a key listening demographic two thousand times over the course of six months, I might consider offering a couple of different spots. But the masters of advertising in Atlanta have determined that Baseball Man (and Woman, I suppose, though it’s hard to believe there are women this stupid) hasn’t quite caught on after the first 1,500 listens and thus must be subjected to the exact same ditty…again.
“Lookie, lookie, lookie, here comes Cookie: Cook’s Pest Control.” I kid you not.
But wait, I haven’t relayed the worst of it. Two of these spots literally make absolutely no sense. In one, broadcaster Don Sutton notes that to play baseball you need a bat and a ball. It’s the same with phone service. Lots of companies say they have the best this or that but only Verizon has the most reliable 4G service.
Yes, a Fortune 100 company runs this non-sequitur 2,000 times across a quarter of the nation.
Then there is the ad in which a woman remembers fondly her dad teaching her to save for rainy days. Those days when things don’t go your way. But rainy days make you appreciate the sunny days, like when your dad holds his new grandson for the first time. For those sunny days, you need… whatever idiot bank it is that wasted its money on this drivel.
It is baffling how these ads got through the process of production and onto the air. Let’s review:
- A professional writer had to pen this nonsense.
- Someone else had to accept it and determine to produce it.
- A client had to approve it.
- A variety of talented people had to voice it, record it, edit it, etc.
Did not one of these people mention that the ad they were planning to put on the air two-thousand times was unmemorable and unintentional rubbish? The president of the ad agency? The CEO of Verizon? The bank president? Some random homeless person on the street? Hello?
You may be thinking that the ads worked because I remember them. But I do this for a living. I listen carefully and try to glean something from how the ad was written, produced and aimed at its audience.
Here’s what I learned from these ads: there are people out there working hard (and often, apparently) to make you and me look like freakin’ geniuses. And helping us save for a rainy day.