George Parker: It’s Pointless Olympic Time Again!

George Parker: It’s Pointless Olympic Time Again!

George Parker is the perpetrator of Every week he shares his opinions on the advertising world with PSFK.

George Parker
  • 16 february 2010

As promised last week, I am not writing any more about the Super Bowl, nor am I writing about Danica Patrick and her less than salubrious introduction to the Good Ole Boy, baccy chewing style of NASCAR racing at Daytona, where she was unceremoniously shunted off the track half way through the race. No, we have much more important stuff to consider here. Because it’s Olympic time, yet again! Well, the winter version of possibly the most commercialized sporting event on the face of the planet.

Not only do Olympic sponsors pay the equivalent of the gross national product of a small African nation for the privilege of being named the official nose hair grooming supplier to the Bosnia-Herzegovina curling team, they then proceed to bombard the airwaves with excruciatingly bad and annoying TV spots proclaiming this amazing fact.

You can perhaps make a case for companies such as Nike, and others that have some kind of association with sports, health, nutrition, or even beer, ‘cos at least with that you can get ripped while watching a pre-pubescent win a skating medal while covered in feathers. And if you think that’s bad, you should see some of the guys.

But the ones that really leave me slack jawed are the mega-companies that see these occasions as the perfect vehicle for their grandiose, and always self aggrandizing, corporate mission statements via hugely expensive branding campaigns that bear no relation to the programming they are embedded in. The current perfect example would be General Electric, who are scheduled to blow somewhere in the region of $80 million on a campaign that will supposedly put a human face on its role in health care. A non-stop bombardment of TV spots throughout the games will show doctors performing checkups in different eras. It opens with a Bronze Age setting where the people are cloaked in fur capes, then goes to ancient China, the Middle Ages in Europe, Depression-era America, and finally a modern hospital where the doctor is using a handheld G.E. imaging device to examine a boy’s abdomen. Oh yes indeed… Thanks to the miracle of GE technology the Shaman was able to insert the bone at the correct angle through your Stone Age nose.

What seems to have been lost in the magic of all this feel good bullshit is the fact that what GE is in the business of making and selling are things like MRI scanners at $10 million a pop. Those are the things Doctors love to shove you through, ‘cos then they can bill the insurance company a few grand for the probably unnecessary procedure … And if you don’t happen to have insurance, they’ll take your house… And if you don’t have a house, they’ll take your left testicle.

Sorry, getting a bit carried away here, but the point is… Why pretend that the reason for spending $80 million against an audience primarily consisting of pizza eating, beer swilling, sports fans has anything to do with building consumer brand awareness, when it’s all about affecting a few hundred douchenozzles in congress as they attempt to kill health care reform for a couple more generations. Why not just go the usual route and bribe the buggers? It would be less painful for the viewing audience, although it would bite BBDO severely in the arse.

George Parker is a guest columnist for He is the perpetrator of, which is without doubt, one of the most foul and annoying, piss & vinegar ad blogs on the planet. He is the author of MadScam and his new book, The Ubiquitous Persuaders, which is currently setting the ether ablaze (and which you can order now on Amazon). He will continue to relentlessly promote the crap out of it until you are forced to stab yourself in the eyes with knitting needles.


PSFK's Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Brand Development
Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Arts & Culture Today

Transforming Light Waves Into A New Art Form

An artist uses glass treated with layers of metallic coatings to create a unique installation called lightpaintings


Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Design Today

This Windbreaker Lets You Explore The Outdoors While Charging Your Phone

The apparel includes solar panels that allow the wearer to stay connected through the power of renewable energy

Asia Today

The Goal Of This Game Is To Not Get Laid Off From Your Job

A hit mobile app has you working really, really hard to not get fired as you climb the corporate ladder


John Sanei

African retail and tech trends

Advertising Today

Movie Critic Bot Guides Viewers Through Festival Offerings

The Toronto International Film Festival has created a Facebook Messenger chatbot to help attendants curate their schedule

Food Today

Disable Your Wi-Fi For Family Dinners With This Pepper Grinder Hacking Device

Dolmio has created a gadget that shuts down internet access so you can eat without being distracted

Entertainment Today

Nosulus Rift Delivers Horrible Smells Just For The South Park Videogame

Ubisoft has developed a unique peripheral for the upcoming title that will put players to the test


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

PSFK Op-Ed august 24, 2016

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

PSFK Labs august 24, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: The Annual Review Becomes An Everyday, Collaborative Activity

Our Future of Work vision is a web-based platform through which teams can collaborate on and monitor performance reviews across all channels, ensuring a happier workplace

Europe Today

Netflix’s Newest Programming Is As Slow As It Gets

Norwegian network NRK is coming to the streaming platform with their successful 'Slow TV'

Media & Publishing Yesterday

CNN Launched An Entire Drone Division Of Their News Network

CNN AIR incorporates aerial footage into the corporation's ongoing news coverage

Advertising Yesterday

Uber’s Breathalyzer Cards Let You Know If You Are Sober Enough To Drive

A new campaign from the ride-sharing service raises awareness about the importance of a safe trip home

Design Yesterday

Milk Proteins Could Be The Packaging Material Of The Future

A newly discovered casein-based alternative is biodegradable, sustainable and even edible

Technology Yesterday

Intel’s New System Will Help Technology See And Understand The World

Joule is a tiny board for developers designed to bring powerful computer vision to cheap and easy-to-make prototypes


Innovation Debrief: Boston
Business Concepts Born In 'The Hub'

Design Yesterday

This LA Hotel Is Designed Specifically For Cocktail Drinkers

The Walker Inn is a new Los Angeles "Bed and Beverage" experience that offers guests an intimate setting for their night cap

Education Yesterday

Bringing Virtual Reality And Telepresence Robotics To E-Learning

This Learning Management System is embracing new technologies to reallocate teaching resources to where they should be going

Advertising Yesterday

Interactive Art Exhibition For Dogs Provides Endless Fun

Installations created by artist Dominic Wilcox are based on activities loved by canines, such as fetching tennis balls and splashing in water

No search results found.