Saturday, June 12, 2010

Of Parity and Advertising

One of the great appeals of the pregame hype for the World Cup is its immediate references to iconography and immortality.





These, I think, are really exciting and visually interesting ads that immediately situate everything in terms of the past and the future. Interestingly, the other league that’s historically very good at appealing to timelessness:




The assertion here is that every event in both sports is a part of a long story that began long before us and will continue after us; like a long national epic. And by and large the commercial iconography is nowhere near as sophisticated in other sports. When’s the last great promo you’ve seen for other sports? Not as many, I’d assert, though this is the best recent one from football:


The title, by the way? “Fate.” Believe me when I say I didn’t realize this before I looked up the ad.

People like to talk about the beneficial effects on parity in sports: they celebrate the March Madnesses and NFLs of the world. But I’d assert the relative greater frequency and quality of promotions like this is a symptom of the beneficial effects of the lack of parity in sports. A lack of parity makes it easier for the same faces to struggle year after year against each other. A lack of parity means that some are great and others aren’t. And if I wanted average—well, most of us see average everyday.

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