Geico Scores Big With World Cup Advertisement

TV Ratings for the 2018 World Cup in the United States are down 44% from 2014, but things aren’t all bad. Geico’s World Cup commercial, titled “Longest Goal Celebration Ever” is funny and a great example of what advertisement should be. The commercial shows a player scoring a goal and then celebrating with the classic slide. However, this player’s slide defeats friction and gravity and he ends up sliding for the duration of the commercial, maneuvering across the whole field on his knees.

There are a few reasons I like this commercial so much. First, it is funny, and there are not many advertisements that are legitimately amusing. Next, it is timely and extra-relevant due to the World Cup. And finally, realizes branding isn’t solely a visual thing. Sure, they do show the Geico website for exactly three seconds, and the player knocks down the “C” in Geico, but the emphasis of the commercial is not on a green lizard or any logo. Geico made an entertaining, timely, and smart advertisement that trusted viewers would be able to identify the makers of the ad without too much in-your-face branding. It’s short, sweet, and a big score for Geico.

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A Look At Promotional Giveaways in the MLB

Who doesn’t love free stuff? Promotional giveaways are common in sports, especially in the MLB. Baseball teams are especially prone to promotional giveaways because of the long season (81 home games). Franchises turn to giveaways to increase attendance and excitement surrounding a team. It’s a win-win: fans get something for free and the team sees an increase in attendance, buzz, and goodwill.

Bobbleheads are one of the most common giveaways in sports. Usually, a bobblehead is simply a figurine of a current player, but teams are starting to get more and more creative. Some teams have embraced pop culture and mixed it with bobbleheads. For example, on May 4 the New York Yankees gave away a bobblehead of Aaron Judge dressed as a Jedi for Star Wars Day. In July, the Pittsburgh Pirates are giving out an Incredible Hulk bobblehead. Teams are also experimenting with new types of bobbleheads, earlier this season the Arizona Diamondbacks gave out a bobblehead that plays audio of Diamondbacks’ radio call from last postseason. The Minnesota Twins are putting out three separate bobbleheads of their outfielders that all can stand on their own, but with all three you can put them together to form a miniature outfield. Judge-jedi.jpg

But it isn’t just bobbleheads that teams are giving away. MLB teams are giving away all kinds of stuff. From hollowed out bats, to foam fingers, to rally towels, to hats, to… beard growing plants? The Red Sox gave away a statue of Craig Kimbrel where plants grow to form him beard. It’s like a sports version of a Chia Pet. The Miami Marlins are giving out pool floaties. The Seattle Mariners are giving out wine-stopper with Robinson Cano atop of it. In the world of baseball giveaways, things get a little weird.

‘Tis the season for free stuff at your local ballpark. It’s worth noting that minor league baseball teams also have promotional giveaways that are worth checking out. So go checkout a game and come back with a pennant, bobblehead, or maybe even a nutcracker.

A Tale of Two Series: The NBA and NHL Finals Are Strikingly Different

After two marathon playoff seasons, the NBA and NHL playoffs are both down to the final series. On one side of the coin the Golden State Warriors face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers for the fourth consecutive NBA Finals. On the other side, the Washington Capitals are making their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals since 1998, and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are the first NHL expansion team to make the Finals since 1968. The matchups in the NBA and NHL final series couldn’t get much different.

It’s hard not to appreciate the greatness of LeBron James. This is his eight consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. It’s an amazing accomplishment. And no one can downplay how dominant the Warriors have been the past four seasons. But here we are, two impressive teams about to face off for the fourth straight year, and it is hard to get excited about it. Maybe because it is a forgone conclusion that the Warriors will send the Cavs packing in a short series. The Cavaliers are one of the biggest underdogs in NBA Finals’ history. Regardless, the fourth successive matchup between these two teams just feels anticlimactic. LeBron2.jpg

Skating on to the Stanley Cup Finals, there are all kinds of story lines. First, how about the fact that there is an expansion team in the final series? It may seem unfair to long suffering fanbases, and maybe the NHL expansion draft rules need changing, but this is an incredible story. This is a collection of rookies and guys not protected by their former teams, the fact that they have made it this far is amazing. Meanwhile, the Capitals are back in the chase for the championship after their last appearance 20 years ago. The Capitals have never won the Stanley Cup. Alexander Ovechkin is one of the greatest players of all time, and the only multi-time MVP not to win the Stanley Cup. The list of intriguing topics in the Stanley Cup Finals goes on and on. knights

So here we are, two final series that could not be more different. The Cavaliers-Warriors IV is like Shrek Forever After: the first two series/films were great and then followed by a dud. Watching the fourth installment seems more like a chore than a pleasurable experience. On the other hand, Capitals-Knights is like Baby Driver: a new, exciting series/film that is bursting with energy. Even though my love for basketball is exponentially higher than my feelings toward hockey, the Stanley Cup Finals has me more excited than the NBA Finals for the first time ever.

Tennessee Titans Unveil New Jerseys

After months of hype, the Tennessee Titans have unveiled their new uniforms. And guess what? They look pretty similar to the last ones. The home jersey is navy blue, the away is white, and the alternate is the Titan’s baby “Columbia” blue. The amount of  that light blue color, a color that in the NFL is pretty unique, has been scaled back in favor of more navy for the most part. The white helmet has been changed for the first time in 20 years to the team’s navy color. On the shoulders, there is a streak of color that contrasts with the main color of the uniforms. Those color blasts give the uniforms some much needed character. The numbers have an interesting font with sharp points

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I like that the Titans have toned down the two-tone blue look. I don’t like the idea of two blue colors together, so scaling it back is a step in the right direction. The new uniforms may not be quite as unique as before, but overall they look better.

Titans needed a makeover, the old jerseys were stale and some of the worst in the league. These changes don’t put them in the upper echelon of NFL jerseys, but it’s a definite improvement over their old style.

Reinventing SportsCenter

I used to love SportsCenter. I would watch it everyday, using it as a tool to catch up on the highlights of games I missed, seeing the very best plays that sports had to offer. Sure, I had to sit through a segment of baseball highlights I didn’t really care for, but what other choice did I have? I wanted to see what was coming next, highlights from games that interested me. There weren’t a whole lot of options as far as sports highlights go, SportsCenter was the definitive place to get caught up on the world of sports. And then it wasn’t.

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Now, you can get the latest highlights just minutes after they happen on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Podcasts contain a much more detailed analysis than anything you can find on SportsCenter because of time constraints. The downfall of SporsCenter has been much discussed over the past few years, and ESPN has seemingly acknowledged it by tinkering with the format and offering a more condensed show on Snapchat.

The problem is, there really is not a point to tuning into SportsCenter right now. When you can find any highlight you want, minutes after it happens, without sitting through segments of other stuff you don’t really care about, the whole purpose of SportsCenter has been defeated. The shortened edition on Snapchat is a move in the right direction, but there are other things that can be done.

Right now, one of the biggest mobile apps is HQ, a live trivia game. HQ goes live twice a day, at 3 pm EST, and at 9 pm EST. The latter game gets over one million users playing against each other live. It is one big communal event, and you have to be there to experience it.

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Riffing off of the idea, why can’t SportsCenter do something similar? Get people engaged with the content and have one time a day where thousands stop what they are doing and tune into SportsCenter. That’s a lot easier said than done. Here’s my proposal: SportsCenter: Fan Edition. This program airs (both on television and via an ESPN app) once a day and features highlights that are narrated by fans.  Fans submit their own clips, and the best ones are played live on the show. Think of the young kids, aspiring broadcasters, YouTube personalities, and just overall huge sports fans that would love to narrate a sports clip on television. People would definitely tune in to see if their clip made the show. For people not interested in submitting their own content, they are still treated to a very diverse and different cast of voices. While Scott Van Pelt, Steve Levy, and Linda Cohn are all SportsCenter staples, SportsCenter: Fan Edition would be a drastically different show everyday because of the thousands of different fan submissions that can be used.

SportsCenter: Fan Edition may not have the broad appeal of something like HQ, but it encourages fan engagement. It also offers a unique experience from the traditional highlight show and a reason to tune in live. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a SportsCenter for a new generation.