Wednesday, 3 March 2010

#372 - The Retard Tax

People sometimes accuse me of having no heart... 
I suppose the mere fact that those accusations don't bother me very much proves that there could be some truth to them, but unless the accuser is a certified cardiologist who has just studied my x-ray photo's, I'm not overly concerned...

Because of my relative heartlessness, I'm not as easily affected 
by advertising as some other people. That makes sense; most advertising is aimed for the heart anyway. After working in publishing and marketing for two decades, a thick layer of callus has formed around my soul. That layer acts like a protective shield against a lot of whisky PR and advertising - like the press release from Evan Williams (Heaven Hill) that I've just received.

The press release proudly announces the fact that Evan Williams will become the official bourbon of the 'sport' bull riding. I find this sponsorship deal oddly appropriate, because I've always considered sports sponsoring to be some form of "retard tax". Brands decide to sponsor sporting events and sports teams in order to boost their image with their target audience. The target audience of many sports (for example bull riding, or American football in the US and proper football in the rest of the world) consists of mainly retards. 

The vast majority of those retards do not seem to realise that THEY are the ones paying the price for the "generosity" of the sponsors. After all, increases in the advertising budget are generally paid for by increases in the prices for the products, not by reducing salaries and bonuses for staff and management. So, in a weird way the consumers of Evan Williams bourbon whiskey who will visit a bull riding event in the future are paying for the Evan Williams advertising and PR they will be submitted to - hence the phrase 'retard tax'
Yeah, the corporate system is a thing of wonder and beauty... ;-) 

On the other hand, I guess the people of Evan Williams could have had the best of intentions. After all, those bulls are not going to ride themselves... Apparently SOMEBODY has to ride them, and in that case it's probably best if it's done by a professional bull rider. Yeah, right... Anyway; here's a snippet of the press release;

World’s Second Leading Selling Bourbon Reaches Partnership Agreement with CBR Nationwide Professional Bull Riding Tour

BARDSTOWN, KY—Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, the second best selling Bourbon in the world, has signed a deal with Championship Bull Riding (CBR) to become the “Official Bourbon of the CBR”.  Evan Williams, a product of Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., is already a major sponsor of the BASS Elite Series and BASS Elite pro angler Jason Quinn, but is expanding their sponsorship dollars out into another sport that indexes particularly high against the Bourbon demographic—professional bull riding.

By becoming a major sponsor and the official Bourbon of the CBR, Evan Williams will enjoy exposure to attendees at more than 20 live events nationwide with over 100,000 fans in attendance, plus over 14 million viewers each year through primetime broadcast of CBR events on the Great American Country (GAC) cable network.  Evan Williams, which sold over a million 9-liter cases last year in the United States and internationally, will also enjoy display and sampling opportunities at CBR events.  CBR was founded by bull riding icon Tuff Hedeman in 2004 and bills itself as “The Real Cowboy Sport”, riding a wave of popularity for rodeo events and bull riding in particular.  (...)

Anyway - I didn't really need an extra reason NOT to drink bourbon (the vast majority of the ones I've tried tasted foul), but I'll happily use this as a spare one. Professional bull riding isn't quite as bad as the professional bull killing that goes on in Spain, but I'm thinking that the many gates and fences in those arena's indicate that the bulls would prefer NOT to participate in these "sports" if they were given a choice. So, I wouldn't want to run the risk of inadvertently financing cruelty to animals...

Phew.... My spleen feels properly vented for now ;-)

Sweet drams...