PRINT April 1988



IT ALWAYS AMAZES ME when I’m watching a football game and all that soaring and hurling and colliding and bleeding and limping is suddenly interrupted by an advertisement for something remarkably abstract and unpurchasable. I don’t know why, but aerospace contractors and microchip makers and high-technology companies with products priced in six or more figures are always advertising in the middle of football and basketball games. Why does ITT, for example, want to reach the fans, the plebs, the masses?

We can easily understand and accept the beer ads that come with the game. We can easily understand the car ads for “the best-built American cars” or “the heartbeat of America.” They make as much sense in the context of the game as the national anthem. But diversified-conglomerate ads give us a moment’s pause. There they are during times out, explaining that ITT is luxury hotels, auto parts,

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