I have decided that the run for the annual NCAA basketball championship needs a little spiffing up. No one who is in charge of anything has called on me to ask my opinion, of course, but I am not one to let that stop me from expressing it. One of the rules for this column is that we are not supposed to share our opinions about things that are not happening in our own community. If President Obama is doing it in Peabody, I can comment on it. If he is not here, he is off my editorial radar and I should address a local issue.
In my opinion, the NCAA basketball tournament coverage qualifies for a local event because it really did happen right there in my living room for several days and it will do so again right up until the final night. Also, I think I have a logical issue that should be considered by the NCAA and they are rumored to lurk around everywhere so I think it is possible they might review my suggestion.
I enjoy the whole series and even though all the Kansas teams are out, I still will watch the rest of the “Journey to the Tourney.” However, I will do it with my finger on the mute button of the remote control — not because of Dick Vitale this time, but because of those lame, boring, and repetitious commercials. Where are the Budweiser Clydesdales when you need them?
The basketball tournament is a long drawn-out event. It takes a lot of time to cover 68 teams, have them analyzed during each halftime, then summarized and dissected by the experts at some point following each game. So it is not like the Super Bowl, the Indy 500, or that golf tournament Georgia. I know that. A multi-week elimination process winnowing 32 contests to a single night that features two opponents needs to have many sponsors to give us what we want to see.
I think, however, that State Farm Insurance, Reese’s Pieces, Lowe’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, AT&T, and the others ought to ramp up the quality of their offerings. Perhaps change them as the games progress from conference play-offs to the initial NCAA Tournament round. Then create and show more polished or at least different ads, as the tournament heads to its conclusion. Right now most of the advertisers offer a rather pathetic fare that insults the intelligence of just about everyone.
Actually, the NCAA’s own commercials about kids competing, failing, getting up, and trying again are among the best. Those images are something with which every parent can identify and I’ll admit to getting a bit teary-eyed while watching them. Maybe the NCAA committee could show us more commercials that feature kids like those in our own communities who try hard to reach their goals.
I will remember them much longer than I will remember that Jake from State Farm is at his office in the middle of the night wearing khakis.
— SUSAN MARSHALL