Thursday, January 05, 2006

Go, Nameless Warriors of the Gridiron!

This morning, Dell e-mailed me about plasma TV offers. Next to the ad text, "Get Ready For The Big Game!" is a photo, featuring the anticipated matchup of America's favorite teams: the Anonymous Redhelmets and the Boring Greenjerseys.

A major pet peeve of mine has always been ads for products that don't have permission from teams or sports leagues. Lame uniform attempts are the more visceral example of lameitude.

It happens a ton with baseball ads. Mike Piazza, back in his days with the Dodgers, was in an TV ad for Pert Plus. In the commercial, he wore this pathetic attempt of a jersey whose only commonality with the actual uni were the words "Los Angeles," but the style of script and colors of the jersey were nowhere close to the famous white or gray uniform with Dodger blue lettering. Derek Jeter's ads for Skippy are a little better; at least he got to wear a pinstriped uniform that had some semblance to the Yankees' home uni, albeit without the interlocking N-Y. And let us never forget "Major League Super Star Fred McGriff", his big puffy baseball cap and his ringing endorsement for Tom Emanski's "Defensive Drills" video.

Subtler knock-offs involve words. It's bad enough that advertisers can't refer specifically to the "Super Bowl" without permission from (read: payment to) the National Football League. So often, even during the Super Bowl, you'll see commercials for products and services relating to the "Championship" and the "Big Game," and it's just embarrassing for everyone involved. The NFL should continue to promote the official soft drink (Diet Pepsi), telecommunications sponsor (Sprint) and credit card (Visa), but not stop other groups from referencing the name of the freaking game.

Otherwise, I'll just have to wear a generic blue jersey the next few Sundays and root for "That playoff team that plays in East Rutherford." And obviously, that doesn't mean the Jets.