Lifestyle

This Is A Commercial, Not News

brendan mundorf mll asg
2013 should be a great lacrosse year. What should we look for?

Mixing big names with product placement is nothing new. Mixing the two under the guise of legitimate editorial content? Well, that’s still kind of new, and pretty suspect, so let’s talk about it!

IL posted a story titled NBA Star DeAndre Jordan Learns Lacrosse, then LPG followed up, and now the LA Times has picked up the story, so I was immediately interested. In the past, I have loved seeing Matt Barkley learn lacrosse, and I thought it was cool when the Matthews brothers used learning lacrosse to openly sell Suave hair products. The latter was a great product placement commercial pertaining to lacrosse.

So it’s safe to say that professional stars from other sports learning lacrosse is usually a winner, even when it’s an ad. But, when I read the stories that went along with DeAndre Jordan’s lax lesson video, I was disappointed because the posts themselves were also basically just an advertisement for Rockin Refuel, a new sports drink company, and not the “story” I was expecting.

The set up is that Brendan Mundorf teaches DeAndre Jordan how to play lacrosse, and how cool that is. The real life deliverable is that you now know what Rockin Refuel is, and how perfect their carb to protein ratio is, because two of their sponsored athletes just told you.

After doing just a little research, I learned that Brendan Mundorf is a Rockin Refuel athlete, simply by checking their site, and to be honest, I find it bizarre that this fact is mentioned nowhere in any of the articles. Jordan is also a Rockin Refuel athlete, and that is also not mentioned. Of course the latter info doesn’t show up on the RR site either, but it does show up in the Baltimore Sun. So it’s out there.

So what’s the end game here? Don’t let the truth get in the way of good advertising?

Maybe I’m overreacting here, but I hate when the lacrosse community is sold a false bill of goods, or when media sites do stories that run just like ads… Unfortunately, that is seems to be what is happening here.

The video was actually pretty good on its own. Mundorf and Jordan were funny and engaging, the RR plugs were limited, and the overall video quality was high. Check it out for yourself:

Like I said, the video itself wasn’t weird at all, or anything new. What was weird was how the video was presented in the media. This was an ad for Rockin Refuel, and not news about DeAndre Jordan learning lacrosse… so why did everyone miss what was really happening?

Is something else at play here? If so, I must be missing it. I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk about DeAndre Jordan learning lacrosse. All I am saying is that it must be noted that this is advertising, and not news. I hope that’s a minimum standard we can all agree on.

About the author

Connor Wilson

Connor is the Publisher of LacrosseAllStars.com. He lives in Brooklyn with his better half, continues to play and coach both box and field lacrosse in NYC as much as possible, and covers the great game that is lacrosse full-time. He spends his spare time stringing sticks and watching Futurama.

8 Comments

  • I hope we see more of DeAndre jordan on the lacrosse scene in the future! One thing that bummed me out a little about the Matthews brothers was that their involvement in the sport seemed to start and stop with Suave. Don’t Clay and Casey understand they’d make phenomenal LSMs?!

    Also, side note… If we divided DeAndre’s 10.8 million salary equally amongst a typical MLL roster, we’d be looking at around $600,000 per player!

  • On the whole, I think it is a positive for lacrosse. I reminds me of high school, when the baseball players would come by the tennis courts an try to hit a tennis ball with a racket. Equally awkward. It would be interesting to see someone that tall play lacrosse. Who is the tallest player to succeed in NCAA D1 lacrosse? Would being 7 ft tall be an advantage? I guess they could post up at the crease and shoot down hill.

  • Might be splitting hairs but would anyone really think this was news? This is video content and not presented as news in any way. Even the title of the video (“NBA Star DeAndre Jordan Learns Lacrosse”) is positioned casualy. I find it hard to believe that anyone would be upset to find out a brand is involved. Would DeAndre ever have picked up a stick otherwise? No. Was it interesting / shocking to see a huge 7 footer pick up a stick? To me, yes it was.

    The fact that the brand integration isn’t being thrown in your face the entire time makes it even more acceptable to me since they are letting the content speak for itself and just trying to be interesting. The new world of branding is all about creating and aligning with interesting content (see Old Spice) and consumers benefit by seeing cool stuff they otherwise wouldn’t have seen. There are definitely bad examples out there where advertisers abuse that trust and create content that is misleading but this isn’t one of them IMO.

  • Might be splitting hairs but would anyone really think this was news? This is video content and not presented as news in any way. Even the title of the video (“NBA Star DeAndre Jordan Learns Lacrosse”) is positioned casualy. I find it hard to believe that anyone would be upset to find out a brand is involved. Would DeAndre ever have picked up a stick otherwise? No. Was it interesting / shocking to see a huge 7 footer pick up a stick? To me, yes it was.

    The fact that the brand integration isn’t being thrown in your face the entire time makes it even more acceptable to me since they are letting the content speak for itself and just trying to be interesting. The new world of branding is all about creating and aligning with interesting content (see Old Spice) and consumers benefit by seeing cool stuff they otherwise wouldn’t have seen. There are definitely bad examples out there where advertisers abuse that trust and create content that is misleading but this isn’t one of them IMO.

    I would recommend re-reading the post! Am I upset about the video itself, or do I pay it compliments and complain about the media’s positioning of the sponsored content as actual news? I think you’ll see my issue is not with the video itself. I agree it’s a great, interesting move.

    My problem revolves around the LAT, IL, and LPG not even mentioning ONCE that this was not something that was just found and reported on. It was created, and designed. Might be entertaining, but that is decidedly not reporting the news. I think it’s a distinction worth making personally.

  • On the whole, I think it is a positive for lacrosse. I reminds me of high school, when the baseball players would come by the tennis courts an try to hit a tennis ball with a racket. Equally awkward. It would be interesting to see someone that tall play lacrosse. Who is the tallest player to succeed in NCAA D1 lacrosse? Would being 7 ft tall be an advantage? I guess they could post up at the crease and shoot down hill.

    I think it’s positive too. I liked the video, and have no problem with RR making stuff like this. I hope they do more in fact. My problem is how other outlets positioned this “story”. When I talked about the Matthews brothers, I mentioned it was an ad. I think that is a fair minimum to look for.

    As for the tall guys, Navy’s goalie was 6’7′ this year. I think he was the tallest in 2013. I would think a 7′ attackman who could run could protect his stick well with his size, and that shot would be intimidating as heck! Stick skills are the most important, but I can’t see that kind of height hurting a player!

  • My problem revolves around the LAT, IL, and LPG not even mentioning ONCE that this was not something that was just found and reported on.

    Makes sense. Just making it clear the differences between content (sponsored or not), news pieces, editorial, press releases… there are many different types. Too often blogs / outlets get lazy in crediting the source when they re-post something found online. I wonder how many of them even realized it was brand sponsored since the integration is so limited (as you pointed out).

  • My problem revolves around the LAT, IL, and LPG not even mentioning ONCE that this was not something that was just found and reported on.

    Makes sense. Just making it clear the differences between content (sponsored or not), news pieces, editorial, press releases… there are many different types. Too often blogs / outlets get lazy in crediting the source when they re-post something found online. I wonder how many of them even realized it was brand sponsored since the integration is so limited (as you pointed out).

    boom. nails it. At least IMHO!

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