Hard to explain

Sitting here watching the Sox cream the Indians in hi-def. As the game winds down, attention shifts to changes baseball broadcasting since I last paid much attention to it. One is that watching players spit is far less entertaining than it was in old low-def. Terry Francona looks like he’s barfing. I’ll bet he expectorates a quart of hock every game. Another is that the network now has a mike trained on the ball as it flies from pitcher to catcher (or hitter) at ninety-some miles an hour. It’s not a whooshing sound, but more like a Star Wars light sabre with low batteries. Strange.

Oddest of all is the addition of hard-on medicine to the customary advertising line-up of beer and truck pitches. “What’s ‘erectile dysfunction’?” the kid asks. “What’s a priapasm?” The latter is just one among the long roster of truly scary side effects for Levitra and Cialis. Prior to this game the only place I saw those products advertised was in my daily spam basket. Now I have to euphemize my way around obvious questions about the sexual inadequacies of aging couch tubers.


  1. Britt Blaser’s avatar

    If Big Pharma hires such genius marketers, why have we never heard the most obvious tag line in this market space?

    “For a good time, Cialis.”

  2. Trey’s avatar

    Almost as bad as having to watch and explain embarrassing commercials to young viewers is the probable deadweight economic loss when they are aired.

    Advertisers pay per impression for those ads, even though only a very tiny fraction of the audience is a potential buyer. They may rationalize that they are “building a brand” with the untold millions spent on reaching younger people and women, but a drug brand is not a typical brand- as in just a few years all of those medicines will be off patent and facing massive price competition from generics, so most of the brand equity will diminish.

    Someday soon we may have a relational media model in place where marketers can precisely target messages at individuals who have demonstrated an interest in receiving them. Companies that sell niche products will have very strong economic incentives to withdraw their pleas from the mass media and reap bigger rewards in relational media.

    This improved marketing efficiency will at least partially eliminate the deadweight loss and improve our lives as we can sit and watch television with our families and see commercials that are not embarrassing and maybe even enticing enough to not Tivo over- since all those watching may have some interest in the product or service.

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