Monday, February 15, 2010

The Household Leader In Sports

ESPN has taken their branding machine into toys and sporting equipment.

In the last few months, I've seen ESPN ping pong tables, baseball "trainers", and a hockey game. Three words come to mind when evaluating all the toys: Cheap. Plastic. Crap.

Yesterday, though, Eli 8.6 brought home this:

For $15, that's not bad. It's a microphone (nice job with the logo) with attached speaker, and there are multiple volume levels , along with sports "pre-sets" for different sports environments. Also, in what must be the utter humilation of Steve Levy's entire life, he pre-recorded phrases that play when you press the buttons.

As soon as I hear Eli talking on it, I'm reminded (of course) of the all-time classic commercial for my generation: Mr. Microphone. Yes, you can actually watch the commercial if you hit the link, and it's even worse than you remember. Who can ever forget the classic phrase "Hey, good lookin'--we'll be back to pick you up later!" Hear that once and it gets burned into your brain for life.

Eli has this sportscaster mentality already, because when he's playing a sports game, he delivers constantly running commentary as he plays (which is actually pretty good). So with this microphone, he was in heaven. He was running around the house, volume turned on max, saying "SportsCenter is NEXT" and "The kick is up--and IT'S GOOD!"

Plus a thousand other phrases, because he was talking non-stop.

"Dad, this is going to be GREAT," he said throught the microphone. "I can use this for EVERYTHING."

"I think it would be great in the car," I said, "when your mom is taking you places."

"Hey!" Gloria said.

"DAD," he said (of course this is through the microphone--everything is through the microphone), "I WILL BROADCAST EVERYTHING YOU DO. Oops, gotta pee!" He put down the microphone and ran to the bathroom. With eight-year-olds, peeing is like an Olympic track event, because he always waits until the last second, so he never goes to the bathroom at anything less than a sprint.

I picked up the microphone, switched it on, and walked outside the bathroom door. "REPORTERS BELIEVE HE'S IN THE BATHROOM," I said.

I heard laughter from inside the bathroom. "I guess that backfired a little," he said.

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