The Media Learning Curve: Dec. 11-18

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Chuck Ross, the managing director of TVWeek.com who, according to his bio, has been involved in the TV business ever since he sold cable TV subscriptions in Santa Monica door-to-door way back in the mid-to-late 1970s, posted a “guest” blog on the company site (linked here) that offers a new marketing approach for someone like Tiger Woods.

Sex, it seems, sells.

Writes Ross:

According to the book “Advertising in America,” the rules that govern the use of sex in advertising were pretty much established by Elliott White Springs back in the late 1940s. He owned a textile company called Spring Mills. …Springs biggest contribution to the effective use of sex in advertising was “The Tease.” … The key, here, is that for the ad to be most successful, one should NOT reveal too much.

Author and sociologist Philip Slater once said, controversially: “If we define pornography as any message from any communication medium that is intended to arouse sexual excitement, then it is clear that most advertisements are covertly pornographic.”

The key there is the word “covertly.”

So here’s the irony. When we see Tiger Woods advertising a product, we are imaging him to be what we know of him from his golf performances. Competitive. Strong. Virile. Smart. All of those things that also make him, of course, sexually attractive.

But this is also a country steeped in Puritanism. Founded by believers in that movement. So when we actually find out that Woods is also a very sexual Tiger, in the most explicit terms, and outside the bounds of his marriage at that, well, the gig is up.

I have the utmost respect for Nike founder Phil Knight, and the success he’s built, and his reading of the marketplace. He said the other day that when all is said and done with the Tiger Woods story we’ll look back at the current scandal and see that it was just a blip in Woods’ career.

Yes, Americans are incredibly forgiving, especially with athletes. But I’m not so sure we nor Madison Ave will be when it comes to Woods’ future power as an endorser for most products.

I just don’t think we’ll ever again listen to Woods say how wonderful a product is and think to ourselves, “That’s Grrrrrrrreat!”

More from the Media Learning Center (which used to be sponsored by Accenture, but they’ve stupidly pulled out, it says at the story linked here)

== Is Tiger really getting a mulligan from the networks that cover golf, or are they just trying to cover the sport as it’s played on the course (linked here).

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== If Tiger had been in a plane that crashed into the Twin Towers eight years ago, could it be even bigger for the New York Post? (linked here). The streak increased another day with this Friday cover:

== How ESPN’s Rick Reilly mails it in, reading the closed captioning on his TV set (linked here).

== ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons actually find stuff that he left out of his recent 700-page book (linked here).

== Why people in Iowa will need to drive their tractors to Miami to see the Orange Bowl, since their local TV won’t be worth a dang (linked here).

== Your Week 15 NFL TV schedule in L.A.: Why the NFL Network still cares (linked here).

== Your first week of college football bowl games (3 up, 31 to go) (linked here).

== Only four more months before Donald Trump pretends to golf well on Golf Channel (linked here).

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== Even as she stands in this GQ photo taken by a professional photographer in a pretend locker room, ESPN’s Erin Andrews is going to fight the peepers with hotel reform (linked here). Let us know how that goes.

== AND FINALLY:

== A post on Deadspin.com (linked here):

SI “Out Of Touch” For Mocking Around The Horn, Says Newspaper Columnist Who Fears Computers

Last year on a Bob Costas HBO special, Al Michaels referred to (without naming names) ESPN’s “Around the Horn” as “gasbags on parade.” The L.A. Times’ Bill Plashke defends the honor of the self-proclaimed “Show of Competitive Banter” a multi-Twitter post that, frankly, would have been best ignored. Because then no one would have posted this photo:

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I’m honored to be one of those gasbags, and thankful that so many people allow us to parade into their lives…

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