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.