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Drop-in Ads … the Landmines of Sports Radio

By William Thomas

If you listen to the radio broadcast of any professional sports game these days, you will be amazed at the proliferation of drop-in ads. If the play-by-play announcer mentions the word “tackle,” he’ll quite likely follow with, “And don’t forget it’s bass season.  Get everything you need at Peter’s Tackle & Bait on Secord Drive …”

Or, “Oh!  Wow!  What a pass!  Pass?  Gas?  Just a reminder that with Beano there will BE NO gas.”

I happened to be driving in the States a couple of Sundays back, listening to the Buffalo Bill’s game, when the play-by-play man said:  “That could be a serious injury to running back Fred Jackson … this injury report brought to you by Cellino & Barnes, Buffalo’s best personal injury lawyers.”

Yeah, the irony of it. Poor Fred’s calling for a stretcher and the announcer’s busy shilling for a company that chases ambulances!

“Wow!  What a hit!  Hit in a car?  Call William Mattar.”

Almost every segment of professional sports is now covered by sponsorship, from the coin toss to the post-game wrap-up.  The NFL Super Bowl coin toss is sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza and the post-game wrap-up is almost always sponsored by … wait for … Reynolds Wrap.

There was a time when you could turn down the dial to avoid the commercials, but not anymore.  These quickie ads are now way faster than your fingers.  “That’s the fifteenth penalty of the game.  Remember, one 15-minute call to Geico can save you 15 percent on car insurance.”

By embedding the ads in the action of the game, play-by-play announcers have become quick-thinking snake oil salesman.  “Phelps painted the corner with that pitch,” says the New York Yankees announcer. “And painting the corners is sponsored by CertaPro Painters. Because painting is personal.”

Unfortunately, it’s now official.  There are now more drop-in ads in most professional sports games than dropped balls.

“Oh no!  He dropped the ball!  Don’t forget to drop into the Belmont Hotel after the game where ‘The Chicken Wing Is King.’”

The segues from action to ad are shameless:  “Wow!  Henderson caught stealing second again.  And don’t forget Bad Bob’s Pace Security Alarms will keep the burglars from stealing from you.”

Some are simply over the top.  “What a totally awesome play by Ryan Coltry at short, which reminds me of that totally awesome three day sale at the Ron’s Sherkston Convenience store featuring bologna at $2.97 a pound.”

It’s official – now more advertising pitches on radio broadcasts of baseball than pitches.  “Wow!  McRae groved that pitch and it’s outta here for a home run!  And that, folks, that’s the First Financial first run of the game.”

They’re a cheap and annoying and … Hey, wait a minute!  Drop-in ads could work for this very column!

As you read this column, I hope you get at least a smile out of my take on drop-in ads interrupting the play-by-play of sports on the radio and … “and don’t hesitate to call Dr. Catherine Ventresca.  She’ll restore a bright white smile to those yellowing teeth in one visit and two cleanings!”

As I was saying, should you find even a modicum of humour in my … “Oh sure, laugh now, but you’ll be really sorry if a tree falls on your car and you’re not insured with Reuter & Reilly.”

I mean, humour is very subjective and you can’t always bank on … “Meridian Credit Union – it’s like a bank with real people where you’re not just a customer, you’re a member!”

When I sit down to write a column like this, I try to weave a web of strange but true … “Tired of walking in cobwebs every time you step outside? Contact Truly Nolen Pest Control. You call for them.  They’ll kill for you!”

A humour column cannot only make you smile or even chuckle out loud but … “Laughs?  You want laughs?  Shop at Frank’s Home Hardware in Port Colborne where the owner is actually a stand-up comedian.”

What I’m trying to say is … “Trying to make a good impression? Take your clothes to Lightheart’s Cleaners. We’ll starch your shirts and your shorts. We keep you on your toes!”

What I’m trying to … “Giving you the shirt off their back?  Port Cares reaches out to those who need it most.”

What I’m … “Need a ride?  Don’t steal that car.  Call Port Taxi.  We pride your ride.”

W … “Doubled over with back pain?  Visit Dr. Vanessa at Mapleview Medical Clinic. She of the fine spine kind.”

Okay.  I’m done.   If you promise to contact one of these sponsors, I’ll promise never to do this again.  Honest.  “You want honesty … Rick at R&J Mechanical Services will fix your car at an honest price.  Free estimates and dog friendly.”

“Dogs and cats?  We’ve got your next one at the Welland Humane Society where a true pet lover is one sick puppy!”

For comments, ideas and copies of The True Story of  Wainfleet, go to www.williamthomas.ca

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