Friday, February 6, 2009

A H-O-R-S-E By Any Other Name

In case anyone wasn’t totally clear on just how bad things were going in the economy, let me paint a picture.

This year’s NBA All-Star weekend is going to feature a game of H-O-R-S-E—something that’s long been fantasized about by many. Only it’s not going to be H-O-R-S-E. Because it’s going to be G-E-I-C-O.

No, you read that right. Like, instead of an “H,” it’ll be a “G,” and instead of an “O,” it’ll be an “E,” and so on. I totally get why no one buys fiction anymore. I mean, the stuff that actually happens is truly amazing.

Now, we’re obviously all totally inured to advertising at this point. We go to the movies and see advertising for sodas, we buy cans of sodas and see advertising for movies. It’s everywhere, shamelessly woven into the fabric of our lives, and you know what? We deal with it. That is, however, until it subsumes the event that it is supposed to be merely sponsoring. That’s when we decide to get annoyed.

And by we, I, of course, mean me.

H-O-R-S-E is a game that reminds people of their youth, which is why it was such an appealing idea to bring it to the All-Star Game. Seeing as that H-O-R-S-E is such a classic game and that its name is integral to the actual playing of it, it’s going to irritate people when they find out that the good people at NBA had the gall to actually sell the naming rights. Like they owned them.

I mean, it’s not a total surprise. I’m guessing that the genius who thought of this figured that we’d all think it was insanely clever and adorable. Like everyone seems to think that gecko is. Everyone except me. What can I say? I’m just not a huge fan of those Geico commercials. Yeah, I know; I’m the only one. But A) Australian accents make me insane, B) Talking animals remind me of mascots, and C) I don’t get what’s so goddamn funny about a caveman.

Leaving aside my feelings about cavemen and Australian accents, the bottom line is that there was a semi-tasteful way to do this. Like to have it be H-O-R-S-E—sponsored by Geico. That I could have lived with. But this leaves me with the unsettled feeling that the only derby I’ll be watching this July will be the Exxon Derby.

But maybe I’m just being bitter. My friend Josh seems to think that we should capitalize on the advertising frenzy and is actually working on a deal with Google in which every fifth word he speaks will be Google. I’m currently trying to work out a similar arrangement with Snuggie.

You’d be surprised, but for people who walk around wearing blanket-robes, they’re kind of a bunch of hard-nosed pricks.

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