Mar 24

March Madness vs. The NBA Finals? Talk about a blowout

March 24 - MarchMadness Does March Madness just keep getting better every year, or what? And, does it become more universal every year, or what? When I attended college in the late Middle Ages, guys were into the NCAA basketball tournament. Period. Now, it seems women are even more engaged in ‘bracketology’ than the men. And, how cool is that? (unless you happen to be a certain Kansas alum/intern who told this blogger her Jayhawks would win the national championship. Ouch!).

I think March Madness has become an opiate for the masses because of the success of such mid-majors as Northern Iowa and St. Mary’s. In the old days, it seemed like UCLA, Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, Maryland, Duke and a few other schools had a lock on the brackets. Now, it’s a wide open, fast break that any school can win. Even the smartest Ivy Leaguer wouldn’t have predicted Cornell would be a Sweet 16 team.

I reiterate the obvious because I just saw a print ad entitled, ‘Coming soon. The most anticipated television event of the year. The culmination of a long, emotional journey. A win or go home contest. All played out in front of a record-breaking national audience. America, are you ready for….The NBA Play-offs on TNT.’ I’m not. I could care less.

Aside from fans in Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles and a few other markets, I think most sports fans find the NBA irrelevant. In my mind, it’s become the professional wrestling of big time sports. It’s all flash and razzle dazzle, featuring individual showmen trying to outduel one another (Gilbert Arenas pun intended). There’s no sense of teamwork or camaraderie in the NBA. The season is endless. And, the champion isn’t even crowned until mid-June.

That’s what makes the advertisement so irksome. I understand why the NBA is trying to leverage the national mania stirred up by March Madness. And, that’s fine. But, to run full-page ads suggesting the NBA Playoffs is the most anticipated television event of the year is ludicrous, if not borderline fraudulent.

My March Madness bracket may be worth a plug nickel at this point, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be watching each and every remaining NCAA game. As for the NBA finals? I think I’d rather watch grass grow.

Mar 22

Why not go all the way and call the company ‘Gestapo’?

March 22 I’ll be the first to admit I’d been blissfully unaware of kgb.com’s existence until this year’s March Madness. That changed when, while watching Cornell dismantle Temple I experienced my very first kgb TV spot. I couldn’t figure out what they did, but that was beside the point. What got my immediate attention was the organization’s name: kgb.

I visited the company’s web site in hopes of determining who had founded the company and why, in god’s name, she or he had chosen the same three initials as the murderous Soviet secret police force. Alas, while I did learn that kgb was a leading text information source, I was unable to determine why someone would purposely chose a name associated with torture, assassination and any number of other heinous crimes.

It’s obvious that, despite the horrific name, the company has done well enough to afford a national TV campaign. But, at what cost? Would you want to run home and proudly announce, ‘Hey honey. Guess what? I’ve just landed a job with the KGB!’

And what about the business itself? Does it walk the walk in terms of living up to the original KGB brand promise? To wit,

– Are employees known as kgb agents?
– Are they message-trained to say, ‘We have ways of making you speak’?
– Do they round up competitors and ship them off to some far-away Gulag?
– Do poor performing kgb agents simply ‘disappear’?
– Does employee training include torture techniques?
– Has Joseph Stalin been named an honorary chairman in perpetuity?

Attracting and winning new customers is tough enough nowadays. Could you imagine having to explain why you represent a company whose name perpetuates one of the worst examples of totalitarian dictatorship in human history? Maybe it’s just me, but if I were going down the worst possible names road, I’d go for the jugular. Why settle for kgb when Gestapo.com is unclaimed? I checked. It’s available.

In fact, maybe one of kgb’s lesser-known competitors should rename itself Gestapo and wage a war to the death with kgb. They can even copy Nazi Germany’s blueprint and codename their campaign ‘Operation: Barbarosa’ just like Hitler did for his invasion of Soviet Russia in 1941.

As Lewis Carroll wrote, ‘It gets curioser and curioser.’