Being an “older” person I find that there are certain things that really piss me off anymore. At a younger age they didn’t bother me, but the older I get, they do. The biggest one of all lately is TV or print ads that feature fishing as a theme of the ad by companies (or their ad agencies) that, obviously, know doodle squat about fishing.
The other day I was reading through a magazine and came across an ad for a tire company. You probably know the one. Here was a grandfather looking guy sitting down on an old wooden dock with a kid who must have been his grandson. Next to both of them was this tire company’s “mascot”, a bulbous white creature. All with their legs hanging down over the dock. The shoes were brand spanking new and the image was less than convincing. And they were all holding spinning outfits.
Yea, they were holding them alright. At the very end of the rod butt! Now I gotta’ ask you, who in the wide world of fishing would ever hold a spinning rod like this? Get a bite and there is simply no way you would ever be able to effectively set the hook or, assuming you were lucky enough to do so, land any fish? I guess the one redeeming visual of this ad was that they weren’t holding the rods with the guides up!
Or how about the TV ad for some pharmaceutical company where a grandpa (what is it about grandpa’s in fishing themed ads?), his son, and his grandson are trekking through the woods with center pin (!) salmon rods, only to end up streamside fishing for what looks to be rainbow trout? Did this bother anyone but me? Center pin is a technique used for fishing steelhead and salmon in saltwater, usually with a float. But in this commercial there was a stream and foliage just behind the bank. Never mind that center pin rods are typically over 10 ft. long. Geez, give me a break!
You know, I don’t go out and look for this stuff, but when it appears it just hits me in the face. And that, to me, shows that the company with the product or their ad agency just doesn’t get it. And here’s what I mean by “get it”:
In the USA fishing is the third most popular participation sport. Running, walking, jogging are number one. I used to run about 100 miles a month. That’s why my knees are shot and very likely why I hobble like some decrepit old guy. I know that golf is number two. I tried golf a few times, but after one of my buddies told me, “Don’t be so hard on yourself, you’re not that good’ I gave it up. The truth hurts.
But fishing is number three. In a country of 300+ million population there are about 60 million fishing licenses issued every year. And keep in mind that not every state requires residents have a fishing license. And that many people fish in other countries. And that often kids under a certain age aren’t required to have a license. Yea, that’s over 20% of the entire population for sure who fish or know how to fish. Maybe it’s closer to 70 or 80 million. That’s a lot of TV viewers and magazine readers, right?
I’m thinking that these people in the ivory towers of big corporations or their ad agencies who handle these ads must not have any fishermen on staff or even close to their offices. They probably come from another planet or, heaven forbid, an unknown state where there is simply no fishing! Whatever the case, you would think that someone would take 5 or 10 minutes to make sure any representation of fishing was close to accurate. I mean, we dissect every word a politician says, but never bother with an ad that is seen by 10’s of millions or viewers or readers? Gimme’ a break!
The best ad I have seen recently involved two guys fishing from a boat. I think it was for some financial institution or maybe a stock brokerage company. Here were these two guys in what appeared to be a v-bottom aluminum boat, both tight against the same side of the boat. There was no “boat lean” as is typical when you have two guys on one side of a small boat. Nope, the boat appeared to perfectly balanced. So here they were, both holding casting outfits. Their right hands were gripping above the foregrip of each rod and their left hands were firmly planted on the foregrip. And the reels (and rod with guides) were on the bottom! Now I ask you, does anyone you know fish this way?
These two bozos were talking and smiling during the whole commercial while the voice-over sold the advertiser’s product. Shoot, this ad could have just as easily have been for Viagra or frozen vegetables as far as I was concerned. It would have pretty much been equally effective. I hope to see it again so I can make sure I never buy that product.
Hey, like I said, I’m old and, according to Dixie, more grumpier than I used to be. Probably due to my shot knees. But whatever the reason, I just had to get these frustrations off my chest. And now I’ve done it. Thanks for hearing me out. Now get out there and fish “properly”.
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