Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Intrusive Advertising

Marketers of all products and services are in a constant battle with themselves and each other for the finite attention of consumers. There is an impossibly fine line between unnoticeably quiet and offensively loud, and there is a marked trend to err on the side of excessive volume.
The idea of sponsorship is a good one: Make known the products used by professionals, and the rest of us will follow suit. An example of this is the OZ Racing rims on all IRL and Champ cars. Sponsors paying for real estate on the cars themselves is certainly nothing new, and for the most part this practice is inoffensive.
However, on occasion things wander off of the acceptability path clear into the field of ridiculous. A well-documented example of this is a NASCAR driver's victory interview, where each of the 22 major sponsors is given credit for the win in an unintelligible mumble. Another example that came to my attention recently is in Champ Car, the full name of which is actually The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford. Not to mention the inescapable grammatical error, this name is so long and cumbersome that it is frequently shortened, both in print and in the minds of the audience. The result of this is the disassociation of the brands Bridgestone and Ford, negating much of the marketing value of the sponsorship. The problem only gets worse when the name of a race is included, such as The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach season opener. This ridiculous name is commonly referred to simply as the Long Beach GP, taking all of the brand names right out, including that of the series.
Race sponsorship, such as the Toyota Grand Prix, can work if done tastefully. Even appending "Powered By Ford" to the end of the series name is clever. But the mess that results from Naming By Committee is something that both viewers and sponsors would be best off avoiding.

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