Steve Rushin, Sports Illustrated
have proudly posted photos on the Internet of their
corporate-logo tattoos -- permanent ads for Apple,
Campagnolo and Volkswagen. The body of X Games legend
Shaun Palmer is festooned with Cadillac logos. English
footballer Robbie Savage has an Armani logo on one arm.
Branding, once an empty corporate buzzword, has taken on a
new, and literal, meaning.
our growing legions of Armanis, Lexuses and Cristals go on
to attend the
children already suffer from an epidemic of
advertising-related illnesses, from obesity to type 2
diabetes," says Gary Ruskin, executive director of
Commercial Alert, a nonprofit watchdog organization.
"This 'ad creep' -- the continuous infiltration of
advertising into every nook and cranny of our culture --
is assaultive and leaves many of us seeking sanctuary.
Some of those places, like ball games, no longer are
you thought ad creep was the name of the guy who
made Fox reporter Chris Myers "interview" Leon
-- the guy from the Budweiser commercials -- during a
World Series at bat.
flood victims with buckets, sports fans futilely try to
stem the rising Tide -- and Cheer and Bold -- washing up
at our doorsteps. Stripped of the last subatomic particle
of their dignity, the storied San Francisco 49ers now play
in something called Monster Park, named for the cables and
power-products company that won the naming rights to the
former Candlestick Park in September. (One of the losing
bidders was Virgin USA, depriving us, presumably, of
Virgin Field at Candlestick Point, a phrase ripped from a
yet, "sports is one area where we're actually winning
significant victories," claims Ruskin. On Tuesday,
San Franciscans were set to vote on Proposition H. Like Preparation
H, it seeks to alleviate a persistent pain in the tochis,
in this case by stamping out corporate stadium names. The
ballot measure is an ordinance that would make
week, two days after announcing that the
one glorious year, The Denver Post declined to use
the official name of the Broncos' taxpayer-financed
stadium -- Invesco Field at Mile High -- and instead
referred to the place as Mile High. The Denver tavern
owner who cofounded Friends of Mile High, a group that
sought to preserve that beloved stadium name, lost the
battle but became so popular in fighting it that he is now
the honorable John W. Hickenlooper, mayor.
we're still subject to ads infinitum. Every day sports
fans are livin' Levitra loca. The Wizmark Interactive
Urinal Communicator is a small deodorizing disk that barks
out an advertising pitch when peed on, something that even
Carrot Top won't do. And so sports fans have seen their
last remaining sanctuary colonized.
an avalanche of negative publicity, Major League Baseball
abandoned its plan to put Spider-Man 2 ads on its
bases in June. But MLB has since ignored the wisdom of
Spider-Man's Uncle Ben, who said, "With great power
comes great responsibility."
so, right after the Boston Red Sox won their first World
Series in 86 years, Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore could
be seen making out in the middle of the Sox' on-field
celebration. They were shooting a new ending to their
forthcoming movie, Fever Pitch. Previously, an
animated graphic advertising Tom Hanks's new movie, The
Polar Express, had choo-chooed across the screen. We
were watching the Bank of America Postgame Show.
that moment a Sox pitcher shouted, "We're going to
Disney World!" He was simply doing what his surname
-- and all of society -- suggested: Shilling.