SportsProf

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Friday, April 24, 2009

"Viva Viagra" and Other Sports Ads

This morning, as I was grabbing my briefcase and headed out the door, I heard my son singing "Viva Viagra." He's a huge baseball fan, he watches MLB Network and ESPN, plays Little League and was outside yesterday hitting the ball off a batting tee into a net (his next game is this weekend).

He's also 9.

Which means, of course, that baseball gears its ads to middle-aged men whose only choices for extra curricular sports in the spring were baseball, baseball and baseball and who went to games with their dads, grandfathers and uncles. Besides, 9 year-olds only ask for money, they don't have income, and heck, most advertisers will tell you that the reasons why SI doesn't sell many ads and that the sports pages have very few when compared to other sections (and those other sections are hurting massively because of the advent of Google, Yahoo and Craigslist) is that men don't make many purchasing decisions anyway -- women do. So, one product that can be very attractive to middle-aged men is a performance-enhancing drug, albeit of a different stripe.

And that means that our young kids have to see stuff like this. I chuckled from afar (my wife believes that I'm a perpetual nine year-old), and my wife pointed out that of all the things to sing aloud my son probably shouldn't chant this advertising jingle in his third-grade class. Wise woman, my wife is, given that kids get sent to the principal for less (this is a school where the playing of touch football is banned, albeit because the kids pile onto each other every time there is a fumble).

Now, I did shudder at listening to sports talk radio in the car when the kids were even younger, because, again, stations like WIP in Philadelphia were won't to advertise for the likes of the adult novelty and video shops that sounded salacious over the airwaves. Needless to say, I was quick to change the station to something else, but these sports stations aren't informational, they're opinion-oriented, so why expose your young kids to critical men and women who call up usually to complain about something?

And then there was this morning, where I heard the first ad I ever heard from a licensed proctologist. The gist of the ad was that 80% of men have some type of hemorrhoidal problem, and that the doctor in question could take care of them painlessly and in his office, and, yes, he also does colonoscopies, so, in a way, this cat is a one-stop shop for all of your GI problems. I'm not going to name him or link to him, but the ad did recite that his website is www.fannydoctor.com. I kid you not.

In world where less is sacred by the day and people reveal intimate details on Facebook and MySpace, my susceptibility to being shocked has also diminished. That said, I wonder what sponsors will emerge to support sporting events in the near future, given that the major sports are all hurting for advertising dollars and need them now more than ever.

It's hard to see the sporting world digging deeper, unless they're going to try to lure you to your neighborhood casino (and they're popping up everywhere) that has a shopping mall that offers you all of the stuff I just mentioned.

Because then you'd have true one-stop shopping that appeals to the basest of human wants.

And now that Ultimate Fighting Championships are getting more legitmized by the day, will there be professional Rollerball anytime soon?

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