6.15.2008

i tried to watch some advertising and a baseball game broke out

You may recall how much I resent advertising swallowing up our entire landscape, exemplified by how difficult it has become to enjoy a baseball game in between ads.

I may have neglected to mention (on anywhere but our Red Sox "gamethread") a recent development in the decline of civilization. During Blue Jays games, Rogers SportsNet is now squeezing in ads in between pitches. Pitch is thrown, ad opens, ad closes, next pitch is thrown.

Do you hear me? Are you getting this? They are showing ads IN BETWEEN PITCHES!!!

And yet, to my amazement, James sent me one that might actually be worse.

Anyone who watches even a bit of TV has had the teeth-grinding experience of ads (usually for other shows on the same channel) being shown at the bottom of the screen. These in-show ads have become larger and more intrusive, with more moving animation, often blocking the show you are watching. Now it gets even better. And by better, I mean worse.

Click and watch. The original post James sent is here: a site over-run by ads.

And from Allan:
In advertising these days, the brass ring goes to those who can measure everything — how many people see a particular advertisement, when they see it, who they are. All of that is easy on the Internet, and getting easier in television and print.

Billboards are a different story. For the most part, they are still a relic of old-world media, and the best guesses about viewership numbers come from foot traffic counts or highway reports, neither of which guarantees that the people passing by were really looking at the billboard, or that they were the ones sought out.

Now, some entrepreneurs have introduced technology to solve that problem. They are equipping billboards with tiny cameras that gather details about passers-by — their gender, approximate age and how long they looked at the billboard. These details are transmitted to a central database.

Behind the technology are small start-ups that say they are not storing actual images of the passers-by, so privacy should not be a concern.

"Privacy should not be a concern." Thanks, advertisers! We trust you to keep us safe!

29 comments:

L-girl said...

Stupid, supposedly funny comments about baseball will be deleted. Enough's enough.

Kim_in_TO said...

1) That tv ad that interrupts the show is despicable.

2) Not that it has any effect, but I routinely boycott products if I find their advertising to be annoying.

3) There's one pub which I've been to downtown which has small ads on the walls in the washrooms. A few years ago, my friends reported that the one in the women's washroom had a motion sensor which would activate an audio ad whenever a woman walked in (maybe the men's one was broken; I don't remember it). Two of my friends set about trying to block the motion sensor. They ended up breaking the ad.

L-girl said...

2) Not that it has any effect, but I routinely boycott products if I find their advertising to be annoying.

I do the same thing. :)

Two of my friends set about trying to block the motion sensor. They ended up breaking the ad.

Cool!

As you might imagine, I hate ads in washrooms.

When you work at night in a large law firm, you get a cab home, paid for by the firm. Two weeks ago, my cab had a video screen showing ads to passenger.

This was very controversial in NYC, and finally stopped because of public outcry. But it was the first time I saw it in Toronto! I complained to the driver and the cab company.

redsock said...

Often, when they show replays during games, there is clutter on the bottom of the screen -- a logo for whoever is sponsoring the replay -- that covers up what they are supposedly re-showing us.

"Let's look at that great catch again, but we'll put an ad over the guy's glove so you can't actually see it."

Brilliant!

impudent strumpet said...

What about stupid ignorant questions about baseball? I never watch baseball so I'm not sure I understand what's going on.

They're showing ads in between pitches. In between pitches, isn't that when people are running the bases etc.?

Or do they throw a pitch, hit the ball, everyone runs around, and then everyone on the field stops and takes a break while they show the ad?

redsock said...

Many times, the batter does not swing at the pitch or he hits it out of the field of play.

That's when the commercial happen -- when the pitcher and batter are getting ready for the next pitch -- it's about 15 seconds or so.

Amy said...

LOL! I love IS's questions about baseball and cannot wait for Laura or Allan to try and answer them.

L-girl said...

What about stupid ignorant questions about baseball?

Those are not stupid and are very welcome.

They're showing ads in between pitches. In between pitches, isn't that when people are running the bases etc.?

That's an excellent question. I didn't explain enough.

This would be in an at-bat (while a player is batting) in which more than one pitch is thrown, which would be most of them.

The batter might swing and miss, or "take" a pitch (stand there and let the pitch go by him). So there's a short amount of time (a few seconds, maybe?).

They're using the video technique that looks like a screen or window opening - you see a brief logo, I think it's ad for a bank - then the video screen shuts and you see the game again.

Does that make more sense?

L-girl said...

15 seconds! I thought just a few seconds, 5 at most.

Oh well then, 15 whole seconds, no wonder they have to fill it with an ad! You can't not see an ad for a full 15 seconds!!

L-girl said...

I love IS's questions about baseball and cannot wait for Laura or Allan to try and answer them.

You could have jumped right in. I would never mind.

Amy said...

I could not have done as well. I would have started from the very beginning with why there is more than one pitch per batter, why, in general, runners are not running between pitches (except LBJ), etc. Just my nature to take questions and answer with more information than anyone needed.

But I loved the image of players taking a break while the ad played instead of running the bases.

I imagine I would ask similar questions about cricket, and Allan might say I even ask similar questions about baseball....like why does the guy who blows the save get a win for the game instead of the guy who pitched effectively for seven innings and left with the team ahead?

Anyway, the post was not about baseball. You know how I feel about ads. Arggghh.

James said...

The Q107 classic rock radio station's latest gimick is their short commerical breaks -- "You're never more than two minutes from great classic rock!" they say as they cut to the ads.

The only problem is, they run the ads after almost every single song. "Back in Black" - Commercial Break - "Emotional Rescue" - Commercial Break - "Ticket to Ride" - Commerical Break - etc. You might get two songs back-to-back, and occasionally three. When you throw in the DJ ramblings, less than half the airtime is actually dedicated to songs.

L-girl said...

I imagine I would ask similar questions about cricket, and Allan might say I even ask similar questions about baseball

Your questions about baseball are never stupid!

The good thing to know is that every baseball fan has questions about the game, no matter how much they know. A lifetime of fandom is still one long learning curve.

You know how I feel about ads. Arggghh.

But you have the enviable ability to block them out way more than me. Ads are like noise in my brain that I can't shut off.

Newfoundland promises to be much lower-key that way. I can't wait. One reason I love being in the woods or especially national parks is the total absence of advertising.

Amy said...

Thanks, Laura.

Remember when there were billboards all over the interstate highways? We have Lady Bird to thank for that improvement; at least now they are pretty much restricted to urban areas --- still too many, but not as bad as it could be.

It's also one thing I love about the Cape Cod National Seashore: no commercialization, no advertising.

L-girl said...

We have Lady Bird to thank for that improvement

I thank her every time I see wildflowers on the side of the highway.

I mean that!

It's also one thing I love about the Cape Cod National Seashore: no commercialization, no advertising.

How wonderful! I always talk about the Oregon coast, what an amazing surprise it was when we did our west coast baseball trip.

No commercial development on the entire coast - only state parks, linked by a series of small art deco bridges, each one unique.

All because of one forward-thinking governor named Oswald West.

We were only there once but it made a huge impression on me.

Oregon Coast

L-girl said...

The only problem is, they run the ads after almost every single song. "Back in Black" - Commercial Break - "Emotional Rescue" - Commercial Break - "Ticket to Ride" - Commerical Break - etc. You might get two songs back-to-back, and occasionally three.

That's the number one reason I don't listen to the radio, except for Jazz FM in the car.

There are other reasons, but that tops the list.

James said...

The good thing to know is that every baseball fan has questions about the game, no matter how much they know.

The most common of which is, "Why do I waste my time with these #?$&@ guys every year?" as thier home team folds in the fifth yet again...

John said...

I didn't know about the ads between pitches, but I'm not surprised. What makes me laugh are the "sponsored" pitching changes and seventh inning stretch. What if they can't find a sponsor? Will the starter have to pitch all nine? Will security make the fans stay in their seats?

L-girl said...

What makes me laugh are the "sponsored" pitching changes and seventh inning stretch.

I wish it made me laugh. I find no humour in this.

It's not new, either. It's been going on at least 15-20 years. "This call to the bullpen brought to by..."

They obviously have no problem finding sponsors.

impudent strumpet said...

Oh right, I knew that once but just completely forgot. I've only ever thought about baseball from the perspective of "How can I avoid catching any balls without my team getting too mad at me?"

So what are the people on the field actually doing in between pitches that takes 15 seconds? (Or will no one ever know because there are ads over it?) What if the people on the field are really efficient about whatever they do in between pitches, and the TV viewers miss the next pitch because the ad's still playing?

L-girl said...

So what are the people on the field actually doing in between pitches that takes 15 seconds?

Anticipating (or trying to anticipate) what is about to happen. Based on the count (how many pitches have been thrown and whether they were balls and strikes), if anyone is on base, and many other factors, they are moving into slightly different positions, to try to stop a potential hit from going through.

This is the time when many baseball-haters, or people who don't understand the game, think nothing is happening.

(Or will no one ever know because there are ads over it?)

The TV audience would not be watching this. We would be watching the batter or the pitcher. During an at-bat, the camera is usually on the batter or the pitcher, and sometimes on a man on base.

What if the people on the field are really efficient about whatever they do in between pitches, and the TV viewers miss the next pitch because the ad's still playing?

TV viewers DO sometimes miss pitches, because the stupid networks are so busy showing ads! WE HATE IT. But it has nothing to do with the fielders.

Amy said...

The CC National Seashore was preserved by JFK. I thank him every time I sit on those beaches.

IS, it takes the pitcher about 15 seconds to get the ball back from the catcher, decide (with the catcher) what pitch to throw next, to wind up, and then to throw.

The fielders are also, as Laura said, anticipating what any runners already on base might do, where the hitter might hit, etc.

FWIW, as much as I love baseball, I also would stand in the outfield in softball, just praying no ball would come my way. I preferred being the catcher...because I didn't have to run (at least not the way I played).

L-girl said...

FWIW, as much as I love baseball, I also would stand in the outfield in softball, just praying no ball would come my way. I preferred being the catcher...because I didn't have to run (at least not the way I played).

Oh god, same here. Cringing in RF. I also caught a few times, but even then I had knee problems, so that's not so good.

Loving a sport and the ability to play it are not related!

Conversely, many professional baseball players are not big baseball fans.

Amy said...

Really? What MLB player doesn't like baseball? That sees like blasphemy!

L-girl said...

I can't cite specific people, but I've heard and read it many interviews over the years - players who don't particularly care for baseball as a spectator sport.

redsock said...

Keith Foulke. Said he never watched baseball when not playing.

Amy said...

Foulke. Not too shocking. He just never seemed happy. Except on the last play of the 2004 series.

redsock said...

I think he enjoyed playing the game. But as far as sitting down and watching a game, nah.

L-girl said...

"Back to Foulke!"

Three sweet words.