With Kentucky fans happier than Oscar De La Hoya in a pair of boyshorts, nowhere is a better place to be than the Bluegrass these days — an undefeated football team, an exciting new basketball coach poised to take the stage. These are the salad days, my friends. The salad days.
We here at the Kentucky Sports Radio Compound have upped our wattage in the last few weeks, diligently intercepting all communiques in and out of the University, hoping to glean anything we can. This operation, I can assure you, continues ’round the clock, in shifts. And imagine our surprise a few nights ago when the siren went off and we’d found an interesting new tidbit to share with you. The following e-mail was recently sent from the UK Athletics’ Marketing Department to all involved with the football team — from coaches to players to P.A. announcers. It’s a sign of the times, to be sure. But I won’t ruin it for you. I’ve attached the missive here:
Sent: September 23, 2007
From: UK Sports Marketing
As you all well know, we are on the eve of an exciting new era for University of Kentucky football. With an undefeated team and our last two outings being among the most exciting in college football for their weekends, UK is poised to garner more exposure in the upcoming few weeks.
This phenomenon is not one of which we have often been able to take full advantage. Kentucky football has, in the past, been relegated to the back end of SportsCenter, if not only a scrolling crawl at the bottom of the network’s broadcast. But this exciting team is gaining new attention at every turn, and we believe it to be the optimal time to capitalize on this exposure. The Marketing team, then, is happy to announce some changes to be made in upcoming games.
– The 20-yard line to the goal line on each end of the field will now be known as the “Big Red Chewing Gum Zone.” All mentions to this area should be accompanied by the catchphrase “make it last a little longer.” Examples of how this will be administered include press conferences (“We just hoped our victory would last a little longer”) and in P.A. copy (“UK makes it last a little longer!”). It should also be noted that the 30-yard line to the 20-yard line on each end will now be known as the FedEx “Special Delivery Zone” and the 50-yard line to the 30-yard line will be known as the Oil of Olay “Love the Skin You’re In Zone.”
– During the break between the first and second quarter of each game, coaching staff will pantomime not being able to communicate via headset. The “Can You Hear Me Now?” spokesperson from Verizon (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) will parachute into the stadium and hand the staff new Verizon voice-activated headsets. The staff should react in a fashion of first disbelief, then happiness.
– Upon scoring a touchdown that brings the team from a deficit to a lead, the scoring player should tear off his helmet, find the nearest television camera and say “Now that’s fast relief! Just like Bayer Aspirin!” As a reward, that player will receive a Bayer gift box, including a t-shirt, coozy, and highlighting pen.
– Upon having Gatorade dumped over him during a win, coach Rich Brooks should comment to sideline announcers the following: “I love Gatorade, especially new Electric Glacier Blue!” This statement is prepared by corporate. No ad-libbing.
– Senior Linebacker Wesley Woodyard should be referred to at all times as the “Woolite Stain Defender.”
We hope these changes will help bring about prosperity and sponsorship to the new, successful University of Kentucky football program, and expect them to be followed accordingly.
– UK Marketing
There you have it, folks. A peek inside the marketing machine. Product sponsorship, after all, is big business. And if you don’t believe me, check out this oddly-placed scene from the 1988 children’s film Mac and Me, which will simultaneously creep you out and make you want some delicious, golden fries.