Corporate America rears its ugly advertising head on another defenseless public arena

Today I had to drag my tired ass grudgingly out of bed for work only to hear the news on my radio alarm clock announce that Progressive insurance has bought the naming rights to Jacobs Field, the ballpark of the Cleveland Indians. We Clevelanders knew for months that the contract for the naming rights was up and that it would not be renewed, but we had hoped that the company acquiring the rights would be kind and keep the Jacobs Field name out of a sense of tradition. We’ve recently had to readjust our lingo when the home of our basketball team, the Cavs, changed from Gund Arena to QuickenLoans Arena. In this day and age, it’s disgusting that every public venue has to come with an advertisement for some local company.

Diane said it best when she e-mailed the following to Progressive (and then proceeded to e-mail the same comment to me):

I just wanted to say that, as a life-long Clevelander and Cleveland Indians fan that I am DISGUSTED by the fact that Progressive has purchased the naming rights of Jacobs Field and is changing the name to “Progressive Field.” The name Jacobs Field honored a family that did a lot not just for baseball in Cleveland but also for the town in general, and the name of the ballpark was a fitting, sentimental tribute to this fact. Baseball has always been the metaphor for American life. Given the recent steroid scandals, I guess that it’s only fitting to corrupt the spirit of the sport even more by turning our ballpark that has evoked so many emotions – good and bad – from a cherished memorial to a Cleveland family into nothing more than a giant advertisement for your company. If Progressive had done something such as kept the name to “Jacobs Field at Progressive Park,” that would have been more in keeping with the spirit of baseball and Cleveland in general. But I guess that’s just not the corporate way.

I can’t say it any better than that. It’s the new capitalist American method of advertisement. And I’m getting tired of it. I’m pretty sure that in the future everything’s going to come with an advertisement attached. Here’s some samples of what’s to come:

This presidential election brought to you by DIEBOLD.

Welcome to the 2012 Depends Iowa caucus.

Christmas Mass brought to you by Yankee Candle. When you’re buying candles for your Advent wreath, be sure you use YANKEE CANDLES for a fresh scent to your religious experience.

This Passion Play brought to you by Home Depot. When the Romans crucify thieves or the Messiah, they always buy their lumber at Home Depot.

Every flush of this public toilet brought to you by Tidy Bowl.

The University of Goodyear at Akron.

The New Church of Rockwell Automation

Perhaps I should name my house The Emhoff Floorcovering Abode since my dad spends so much time over there working on it. That way he can ring in some more business, not just help his daughter out.

Pulllease. This smacks of the commercialism accoladed (and warned about) in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

I think I will be adding Progressive insurance to my boycott list…

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9 thoughts on “Corporate America rears its ugly advertising head on another defenseless public arena

  1. I hear they are scraping plans for the “Darth Vader Memorial Death Star” in favor of the “Imperial Clone Production Company Death Star”, or something to that effect. I hear ya on the advertising. Its everywhere and its sickening. I would also be equally mad at whoever sold the naming rights in the first place.

  2. This also reminds me of traffic reports on the radio. They rattle off the traffic tie-ups so fast that by the time I realized they said, “480 East by the Ridge Road exit” I have no idea what the problem with that area is. But then I clearly hear every word of the “This traffic report brought to you buy” section at the end!!

  3. Ha ha! That’s a funny Star Wars reference. =) Good job. You get my Ingenuity Award for today. =) Since my brain is too tired to come up with a great counter reference to that one.

  4. Point taken. But aside from my wallet, I cannot think of a better place for $2-3M of Progressive’s advertising dollars to go than straight into my favorite baseball team’s coffers. If nothing else, it should make up for revenues lost by having to play home games in Milwaukee.btw – you never know who is reading these things.

  5. Quoting cousin Steve: But aside from my wallet, I cannot think of a better place for $2-3M of Progressive’s advertising dollars to go than straight into my favorite baseball team’s coffers.Why do I have Puff Daddy running through my head right now? It’s all about the Benjamins… didn’t the Indians kind of show last year by bringing down the Joe Torre Dynasty that a good baseball team doesn’t need a pocketbook filled with George Steinbrenner’s fortune? To me, baseball shouldn’t be about the money. Baseball should be about that aura I got to share with the guys from my high school’s baseball team as their student trainer, sitting on the bench in the dugout, knowing that they’d never get to play because they were third string but amusing themselves with sunflower seeds and playing pranks on their equipment manager, and standing up and screaming at the top of their lungs when one of their teammates hit the ball long. Just because almost every other sports arena in the country is now known as “Insert Corporate Name Here” arena, I had hoped that Cleveland could hold out and stay true to that “spirit of baseball.” Silly me…I know, I’m just a tree-hugging bleeding heart liberal idealist. *sigh*(Gee, this is long – maybe I need to start my own blog. Thanks, Heidi, for quoting me in the first place! You have no one to blame but yourself ;)

  6. We have Safeco field in Seattle (home of the Seattle Mariners), another insurance company, who in 2006 laid off many Seattle area employees and outsourced the work to India. Disgusting, indeed. And we have Qwest stadium (phone company), home of the Seattle Seahawks.

  7. Di – Holding last season up as victory, and an example that money doesn’t win out in baseball would be an error. The fact is that payroll correlates very highly with the likelihood of a playoff berth. The Red Sux have missed one of the last five years, and the Skanks have been there every year since 1996. The Cubs, Phils and Angels (all 2007 playoff teams) aren’t exactly cash-strapped either. Frankly, the money only buys you a spot in the playoffs, from there it’s pretty much luck.For us to say “see you don’t need money after all” just enforces MLB’s position that payroll limits or floor are unnecessary. The Indians success on the cheap is simply an example of good management, much like we’ve seen in Minnesota or Oakland over the past five to ten years.As a back-of-the-rotation HS pitcher, and a four-day-a-week softball player these days, there’s no need to preach to me about the beauty, aura, and spirit of baseball. I just know better than to look too hard for it at 9th and Ontario.Sarah – Are you implying you’d like to pay more for insurance?Heidi – Hi. Nothing like having a crusty, lifelong baseball fan, economist-type hanging around during a discussion on baseball field naming rights.

  8. Steve – I’m just glad that I’ve finally inspired lively commentary on my blog. Most of the time, I feel like I’m writing to an audience of one (me). =) Now I know I have readers!! Which gives me POWER… ehehehee! (Just kidding!)The funny, funny about your comment to Sarah is that she is a total downtowner in Seattle. She doesnt own a car and uses public transportation. =) I dont want to speak for her, but I think it was because having a car is too much of a money-sucker (which includes insurance rates) and also it makes us crazy environmentalists feel good. ;) I sure as heck would like to not own a car. If we had a good transportation system, I can tell you that I’d rather use it to go to work so that I can spend my hour commute time reading in the morning instead of sitting in traffic. Yuck!And my insurance rate is about to go up, seeing that I got two traffic tickets last year due to my extreme impatience… both for speeding… I dont use Progressive, though. =) Or Farmers (which advertises on one of the foul ball poles at the Jake).

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