"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Ad Infinitum

I always try to be understanding when listening to baseball announcers. It’s hard to talk intelligently and authoritatively about anything for four straight hours, let alone do that almost every day for six months. If I ever tried, the network would most likely owe the FCC millions in fines by the first half-hour mark, and by day three I’d be babbling about my dog and The Wire and snickering like a 12-year-old boy at White Sox coach Rusty Kuntz. It wouldn’t be pretty.

Beyond that, it’s difficult for announcers to decide exactly who to address: the casual fan who watches a game or two per week, or the die-hards who see nearly every at-bat? I expect many Bronx Banter readers fall in the latter category, but broadcasters don’t want to alienate the large proportion of viewers who don’t follow the team as closely. It’s completely understandable, but still, all the repetition can be hard on us regulars.

All of which is just a roundabout introduction to the real subject of my rant today: ads.

When the YES network debuted, I was a college junior, and thrilled at the concept of an all-Yankees network to feed my obsession. I wrote about its first few weeks for the college paper, and noted:

…as a new channel, it doesn’t seem to have many advertisers just yet—half the commercials are for actual YES programs, and the other half consists of exactly five low-budget local ads, aired repeatedly. If this keeps up, I may have to eat at the Captain’s Galley restaurant in West Haven—as the man in the ad says (in a very unfortunate pirate voice), it’s time to "experience the legend for yourself!" I might drive there in my brand new car from Quality Hyundai, conveniently located on I-95 between Exits 52 and 53.

Turns out, that wasn’t just a new-channel quirk; YES still runs the same spots over and over and over again, half-inning after half-inning, and sometimes year after year, though they tend to be more upscale these days. (Well, except for Procede). I now think back fondly on the pirate voice that shilled for The Captain’s Galley. If you live in the tri-state area, have basic cable, and watch a lot of Yankees games, you will be uncomfortably familiar with the following:

“Fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.”

"Attention, men with thinning hair!"

“A Platinum ownership experience can only be achieved from the Lexus Platinum Dealer Network.”

I must have heard that last godforsaken sentence roughly – and this is just an estimate – 5,678,328,304 times. I often fast-forward through commercials these days (bless you, brilliant Tivo inventors), change the channel, or simply tune them out; but something this ubiquitous, and this irritating, simply cannot be ignored. They show it during every single inning, sometimes more than once. Every day. During Mets games, too, and Knicks games, at least back when I could watch those without clawing at my own eyes. It’s horrifying to contemplate just how often I’ve seen that spokes-snob, in her black cocktail dress and pearls, traipse across her cheap CGI map blathering on about luxury.

Look, Lexus lady: I don’t want to “achieve a platinum ownership experience.” I might, one day, want to “buy a car,” but since I live in New York, probably not. If I ever do — unless I have an unknown wealthy uncle somewhere who’s secretly planning to bequeath me his estate — it is unlikely to be a Lexus. So despite the hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars the company has spent pounding this insipid message into my skull, I WILL NEVER BUY YOUR PRODUCT. In fact, at this point, no mater how much money I had or how great a deal it was or how much I liked the car, I’d refuse to buy a Lexus on principles alone. The people behind this ad, and responsible for its placement, cannot be allowed to win.

Furthermore, if I do one day get a car… guess which brand of insurance I will NOT EVER be purchasing for it?

So sure, Michael Kay’s thrice-repeated anecdotes can be frustrating at times, but the guy’s trying his best to do a challenging job. Whereas I’m now convinced that limey Geico lizard is the computer-generated embodiment of pure unyielding evil.

And if I ever run into "salon expert Guiseppe Franco" on the street, I will not be held accountable for my actions.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver