. The Transom .

Monday, June 09, 2008

"Adverleading" and the NBA Finals

In watching game 2 of the NBA Finals last night, I recognized another example of the difference between today's advertising and PR. This example isn't limited to the NBA, but most professional sporting events. Many major American professional team sports (NBA, NFL, etc) have professional cheerleaders. One could argue that their purpose would be to lead the crowd in cheering for their team. One could further argue that it's their responsibility to get the crowd pumped up. However, professional sports cheerleading and advertising share similar traits.

First, no one goes to an NBA game to watch the cheerleaders. We're there for the game. The game and the players are the PR. The cheerleaders and stadium announcer are advertising. Sure, the cheerleaders are fun to look at and provide 'entertainment' when there is a break in the action, but they don't really serve their original purpose. Take last night for example. Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics goes in hard and slam dunks over Kobe Bryant, drawing a foul. It was a critical point in the game. As he walks toward the free throw line, he waves his hands in the air, signaling to the crowd to get louder. And the crowd responds. Why? Because their player is a) talking directly to them, b) genuinely wants support, and c) is the reason the fans are there in the first place. So why aren't the cheerleaders effective? Because no one pays attention to them. We know they want us to cheer. They are paid to, theoretically, get us to cheer. It's overt sales.

Advertising has the same dilemma today. It used to work. It used to be persuasive. Today it's mostly just eye candy. The world has changed. "Adverleading" has not.


  • I agree with you Mr. Amberg, that in this instance, the cheerleaders are not doing their job. If they were, the b-ball player wouldn't have to waste his "PRtime" trying to do the "adverleaders" job.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, June 09, 2008 2:32:00 PM  

  • If we can agree that they weren't doing their job, then perhaps the question for cheerleading and advertising is: Is their job still relevant or has it transformed to merely a form of entertainment?

    By Blogger Rob Amberg, at Monday, June 09, 2008 2:36:00 PM  

  • I would suffice it to say that both advertising and cheerleaders can be effective in their positions as well as entertain the masses.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, June 11, 2008 10:53:00 AM  

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