For an outfit that claims to love 'mericuh, the NFL sure leans pink when it comes to a couple of the heartland's favorite Amendments. Like the Second, which forbids the government from regulating firearms in any form. And the First, which endows big companies with the right to advertise whatever they want, whenever they want, so long as they have enough money to buy their way to the fore.
Case in point is this perfectly legitimate ad from Daniel Defense, an arms maker so upset to have been rejected from this year's NFL championship game — the Super Bowl of commercials, some call it — that it already has a tagline on its home page urging people to "see what all the controversy is about," emphasis Daniel Defense's.
Why, you say, that's terrible. Who does the NFL think it is, to nix the legitimate marketing of widely legal carbine-length rifles?
No doubt. That's some bullshit right there.
But then, the NFL actually spells out its policies clearly. Here, via Guns & Ammo, which supports Daniel Defense's right to hawk firearms during the big game, is the league's list of prohibited advertising categories. It's quite the roster of contraband. Condoms, fireworks, gambling, porno, tobacco, many pharmaceuticals, "illegal products or services," strip clubs, "flavored malt beverages" and basically everything else fun other than beer and lingerie are verboten. Again, bullshit right there.
Still, if the NFL makes it abundantly clear that it doesn't want to sell weapons during its telecast of the Blizzard that Ate Manhattan, then why would an arms maker push its luck? After all, it must cost a lot of money to produce a full minute-long commercial worth airing during the Super Bowl. And to think of what it must cost to broadcast! Why, Ad Age is reporting 30 seconds will cost $4 million. To run an entire minute, well, the math is simple. Any purveyor of bullets, firecrackers, keno, lap dances, girl-drink-drunk malt beverages, snuff, jimmy hats or any of the other blacklisted goods must know the odds of airing are low.
What if there were a way, though, that you could trade on the cachet of the Super Bowl without paying Super Bowl prices? What if you could create quote-unquote news around the fact you were "banned"? What if you could put a serviceman and his family front-and-center in your ad, unspool some platitudes about home defense, and entice a certain tranche of American consumers to go to your website and maybe lay down $1,600 for a machine designed for the sole purpose of perforating human beings, all without actually spending the $8 million or so it would take to air your ad?
What if, additionally, the very fact of your rejection by a mainstream entity such as the NFL enhanced your appeal to those same consumers — say, because they're exactly the sort of disenchanted, perhaps marginalized sorts who are motivated by a good persecution complex? Maybe then you'd even make an ad knowing it's going to be shot down, pardon the pun, and then point to yourself and say, Look at us, too hot for TV.
And then maybe sites like Guns & Ammo will spill pixels over the teapot tempest, and a good reader will notice and write to a site such as Deadspin to say, all sic, "as a veteran and gun owner this is really poor by the nfl. Have some bud and go kill someone in a DUI, but owning a gun Legally is bad." So then more people see the ad, and someone gets the idea that maybe his family needs defending because, damn, just look at the toilet our country is in when you can't even mention home defense during a football game, and now he knows about Daniel Defense, and it didn't cost no $8 million.
Of course, that would all seem fairly spurious — manipulative, even. It's almost too shady to entertain. Really, if arms makers aren't on the up-and-up, who can we trust?
Photo credit AP