It seems CSN pulled one out of the national TV playbook.
On Monday, we discussed NBC’s decision to prominently feature Brian Williams during the Sunday Night Football broadcast, a tactic used to help promote their new show, Rock Center (Mondays at 10!!!). It’s a clever, usually not-so-subtle trick performed by networks to promote their other products. FOX does it a lot with actors from the cast of Glee and other bubble-gummity flavors of the season. They use guerrilla tactics, too: In June, they planted the star of the then upcoming FX show Wilfred in the stands at CBP (uncomfortable note: I look exactly like Wilfred in my grey Forever Lazy. Except for the ears). And, in 2009, randomly cut to shots of The Observer from Fringe sitting in the crowd at baseball games.
Sometimes, that stuff can be funny. Clever even. Sure, I’ll giggle at a giant, floppy dog seated in 90 degree heat. Lea Michele in any context? You bet!
… But, other times, these stunts are gratuitous, unoriginal, and shameful.
Enter CSN Philly Online Coach.
To be honest, I actually enjoy the commercials which show the coach (an actor) talking to CSNPhilly.com writers. It’s not easy to promote scriptuals and media personalities, so I’m for any attempt to breath some life into these folks. Plus, the actor is quasi-funny.
Last night, however, CSN’s synergistic promotion attempt missed wiiiide right.
What’s not to love about overstepping the conflict-of-interest line (Comcast owns the Flyers, too) and shamelessly plugging your fictional character to promote an admittedly improved web offering?
Just take a look at that video at the top of this post. Tim Panaccio is a beat writer, not a Flyers employee or usually part of CSN’s in-game on-air talent. How many other reporters were allowed outside the Flyers’ locker room between the second and third periods? None.
And what the hell was that, anyway? A low-level producer (taking orders from on-high) trying to sharpen his portfolio for an upcoming WWE opening? I fully expected Kane to pop out from behind Scott Hartnell’s flow and take a goalie stick to the back of the coach’s head while Panotch – the frightened accomplice – ran off like he saw nothing (actually, that would have been awesome).
Just see the look of disdain on Jody Shelley’s face as he had to walk by that mess. Why the hell is Panotch doing improv outside our locker room?
It wasn’t just the cut-scene, however. They kept it up, both before and after that unfortunate plug. Multiple times (I lost count), cameras cut to CSNPOC talking to fans and acting generally douchey throughout The Well. In fact, he even got some face-time when Max Talbot was brought down on his breakaway.
Shameful, Comcast. You could just hear Jim Jackson dying a little bit inside each time they cut to CSNPOC.
When national networks do this, they show actors – as themselves – taking in the game. Or, they subtlety feature the characters, without so much as a mention. But not Comcast… CSNPOC gets a prime seat, credential, and his own cut-scene (think GTA here).
Imagine if CBS did this, and a forlorn Jim Nantz had to throw to the now-retired Andy Rooney for a 60 Minutes plug.
Nantz: Hello, friends. Let’s send it down to Andy Rooney, who has more on… challenge flags?
Rooney: DIGEVERWONDER why those silly little flags are yellow and red? Why not blue, or green? They seem like perfectly suitable colors. You’d think with all the technology these days, coaches would be able to text or twat or beam their thoughts directly into the referee’s head. Instead, they wrap a handkerchief around a beanbag using a rubber band and hurl the projectile to signal attention. Seems to me we’re all just afraid of a little interpersonal communication.
Besides, in my day, we wouldn’t need to correct officials. They’d be man enough to do it on their own. And if they weren’t, we’d just go out to midfield and duke it out with our fists like a couple of kids in the schoolyard. “Nobody calls me yellow.”
Nantz: … I… I’m going to strangle myself with piano wire at Amen Corner.
Pretty ridiculous, huh? So is CSNPOC.
Keep him out of our Flyers broadcasts. Please.