Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

April 1, 2009

Chat Tomorrow, PLUS Pontiac’s Game Changes

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 8:43 am

Join me tomorrow at noon Eastern for the live chat thing. Click here tomorrow to go live or do it now and submit your question in advance. All topics welcomed! Though that obscure happening known as the Final Four would seem to be a rather timely object of interest.

And because I believe no Unfiltered post should be limited to a shameless plug for a chat, please accept the following observation regarding the strange times in which we live, and the even stranger spectacle which we are about to behold this weekend in Detroit.

If you wanted to list the companies that have been advertising most frequently during the tournament, here’s a serviceable shorthand: DiGiorno, Enterprise, The Hartford, Lowe’s, and State Farm. Those are NCAA “Corporate Partners.” (Though, actually, I’m not sure I’ve seen a lot of DiGiorno ads during the games. Am I missing something? Drop me a line.)

One step up from corporate partner status is “Corporate Champion.” There are just three corporate champions: AT&T (think of the dad traveling for business and taking pics of his cute little girl’s stuffed animal), Coca-Cola (all those Coke Zero ads), and Pontiac.

Pontiac. Has there been an ad for an actual Pontiac car during the tournament? (Again, drop me a line.) Yes, I know Pontiac is a GM brand and, yes, I have noticed that Howie Long’s unfailingly smug visage is now permanently imprinted on each retina courtesy of GM. 

Which raises a point. I might be a trifle tired of the weird and even borderline disturbing Buffalo Wild Wings ad, but say this for B-Dubs: In this case there is no direct causal link between my annoyance and my tax dollar. 

Now, I understand that for GM or any other car company to survive they have to move the product off the lot, and to do that they have to tell customers about their new “Total Confidence” plan, wherein car buyers who lose their jobs will be taken care of. Fine. I don’t object to paid advertising from a company with (ponder this figure) $177 billion in liabilities per se, I’m just suffering from Howie Long fatigue.

The plan that the Obama administration unveiled this week to save GM and Chrysler would divide both companies into “good” and “bad” components. The good parts would, under this plan, be restructured to the administration’s satisfaction and then, presumably, would live to see another day. Bad parts, conversely, would enter the bankruptcy motel, where companies check in but they don’t check out. So far I’m seeing Chevrolet, Cadillac, and GMC listed as “good.” On the other hand I’m seeing Hummer, Saturn, and, yes, Pontiac branded as “bad.”

Savor those spots you see this weekend announcing the Pontiac Game-Changing Play. They may be going the way of Billy Packer.   

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