Have the NBA and NHL Gone Too Far This Time?

“Viewers have become de-sensitized, purposefully determined to block out advertisements and content that doesn’t interest them or that they find intrusive” writes Davia Temin, marketing industry vet.

It’s estimated that the average American is exposed to 10,000 adverts a day. That’s 7 a minute.

Think about it: You open the fridge to grab a snack and see 20 different brand name products staring back at you, available for your choosing. Walking down the street, billboards hang over you and busses with wrap-ads fly by.

Experts also say that of the thousands of ads we see a day, we only pick about 100 to really notice.

Of course it’s important to be memorable, that part isn’t up for debate. But how do you know if you’ve gone too far in the name of being noticed?

We’ve got Drake inserting a T-Mobile advertisement into his hit song Hotline Bling, and Ozzy Osbourne promoting margarine. The most recent organizations to join the overboard advertising train (and to come under fire for it) are the NHL and NBA, who’ve decided to put sponsored logos on players’ jerseys.

“Jersey sponsorships provide deeper engagement with partners looking to build a unique association with our teams and the additional investment will help grow the game in exciting new ways,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “We’re always thinking about innovative ways the NBA can remain competitive in a global marketplace, and we are excited to see the results of this three-year trial.”

But not everyone’s happy about the addition, with the organizations being harshly criticized for cashing in on the sanctity of the players’ garb. Many fans believe it’s part of an age-old tradition. It’s sacred, off-limits. Makes sense, and they’re not the ones making $8 million dollars a contract.



It’s no secret that traditional advertising is dying with the changing landscape of social technology (and consumers’ ability to cut through the noise and carry on with their day). “Advertising is the price companies pay for being un-original,” designer Yves Behar has said. Some believe if you’ve got a good idea, it will stand out on its own.

But somewhere between those two extremes lay the happy medium – marketing inventiveness without being plain intrusive.

There are many ways of standing out as a market leader without shoving your message in customers’ faces. A lot of successful campaigns embrace interactivity, and let the consumer flock because it’s just… cool.

“The public does seem to accept ads with open arms that demonstrate real creative quality, and the ability to amuse, entertain, or add value to our lives” Temin continues.


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In a reality where we’re exposed to so many ads that we block out most, how do you know what ‘crosses the line’ when trying to get noticed? What’s sacred in the world of product advertisement? What is the difference between being innovative and inappropriate?

Let us know what you think in the comments!