SPOTLIGHTS: What are the Limits of Product Placement?

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A core tenet of this site is too avoid excessive critique. Still when the WWE employed Epico and Primo (formerly of ‘Los Matadores’) as part of a new ‘Visit Puerto Rico’ ad campaign, an uncomfortable line was crossed.

Specifically, ‘The Shining Stars’ – as their new tag team configuration is termed – is the product of weeks’ long advertisements touting the benefits of visiting Puerto Rico. Now as someone who adores Puerto Rico, I can vouch the commercial fairly accurate. San Juan is gorgeous.
What I cannot endorse, however, is overt use of an advertising campaign embodied in kayfabe personality and storyline. In my opinion, this is a terrible precedent for professional wrestling, one fraught with potentially serious negative consequences. JBL’s parroting of ad slogans only made it shockingly worse.

To explain, the very art of professional wrestling relies on complex storylines and clear babyface/heel rivalries, their tales told via wrestling moves and in-between match buildups. When this is muddied through advertising dictating outcomes, both belief and integrity are suspended.

O.K.; I’m not so down the well to believe advertising devoid a role in pro wrestling’s survival. It should not, however, be the foundation for promotion evolution and/or use of talent. I shudder thinking a pro wrestler’s career at the mercy of both creative…and an ad campaign s/he must simultaneously adhere to. Square peg in round hole doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Strangely – and if Twitter indicative of community sentiment – the above seemed to slip by the wrestling faithful. Most, it appears, deemed The Shining Stars and Visit Puerto Rico ad campaign correlated but not intermarried. That belief, however, is misguided.

While I’m ecstatic two very talented wrestlers were thrown a new lifeline via this campaign, they did so at a literal price. Still, I’m not surprised. The failed XFL reeks of a similarly transparent yet faux semi-objective look at athleticism.

It’s this kind of quick hit perfect for a publicly traded company (i.e. additional ad revenue, linkages to a desired Latino fan base, etc.)…but not one dealing with human beings as products. Thus, this method of selling promotion and talent needs to cease immediately.

One thought on “SPOTLIGHTS: What are the Limits of Product Placement?

  1. Turning someone’s gimmick into an ad campaign is not only debasing it destroys the art form of wrestling. What’s next Tony the Tiger versus Tucan Sam and we all eat cereal together ?

    Like

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