Friday, September 26, 2008

"Sometimes bad behavior is rewarded"

So said my tv-watching companion the other night when a car rental commercial featuring John McEnroe aired.
The National worker was explaining to tennis's bad boy all the perks of choosing National. Guesses as to the punchline?
Yep. "You cannot be serious!!"
How much money has this man made off of that line? And his bad behavior generally?
Can you imagine a female athlete benefiting to such an extent--and so long after her playing career was over--if she was marketing bad behavior? Are female athletes even able to capitalize on bad behavior? Can you imagine a black female athlete being able to? A gay female athlete?
Note that this is not a call for equity in successfully marketing unsportspersonlike behavior. It's more disgust at how unquestionably accepting we are of it. And not just accepting but supportive. Because you know if companies thought McEnroe's bad boy history would negatively affect their products, they wouldn't use him and they certainly would not highlight his obnoxiousness.


Diane said...

That isn't the first commercial to capitalize on McEnroe's unacceptable behavior. Tennis is considered unmarketable compared with things like football and basketball, so if someone (a male someone, that is) acts really trashy, that is "masculine," so the market opens. No sissies those McEnroes, who call umpires and opponents vulgar names and throw drama queen rants when they are supposed to be playing tennis.

The only tennis "bad girl" who actually got away with it--that I can think of--was Capriati. Capriati had a mouth on her, and she was often quite amusing ("Turn that baby off!" being my all-time favorite). But had she gone as far as McEnroe and his ilk, she would have been condemned, I'm sure.

Helen said...

I wonder, also, if it's the language and the medium... Yes, he's being a big ole baby -- but there's that one liner.
There's plenty of big ole babies in the WNBA - (coaches - Bill L and Mike T) but has, for instance, Ford, Taurasi or Parker or any other female athlete come up with a phrase that is as marketable as "you can't be serious"?

What I see coming out of their mouths is F*CK. Not so much a desired catch phrase.

I would say DT's probably the likeliest to come up with something --- assuming she's "seen" enough to make it marketable.