Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The most mind-numbing non-news story of '09?

Yesterday, Gurkha's $25,000 sponsorship offer to Michael Phelps was widely reported on the internet and elsewhere. While I'm uncertain where the story broke first, I finally read it on the towering brain trust that is TMZ.com (special thanks to my Twitter buddies).

In case you've been hibernating, here's the back-story: Phelps, at 23 years old, and the most decorated gold-medalist in Olympic history, turned up in a photo published in the British tabloids smoking pot [insert painfully obvious caloric-intake/munchies joke here].

After catching wind of the incident, Gurkha bogarted free publicity by offering Phelps a sponsorship contract. Given the magnitude of his current endorsement contracts, Phelps would be a fool to shill for Gurkha for a measly $25k. Obviously, this was a marketing ploy.

Gurkha's message to the public: Cannabis and cigars are related.

Really, Gurkha? Given the bad press cigar smokers are enduring with SCHIP, smoking bans and everything else, your Steve Miller brand-strategy is to align tokers and smokers?

Of course, reliable journalists they are, TMZ got the scoop with a piece titled, "Phelps Offered $25k to Blaze it Up."

Really, TMZ? "Blaze it up" is as deep as your bag o' puns goes? When is the last time a cigar smoker referred to "blazing one up?"

Look, I spare judgment on those who choose to indulge in "extra-curricular activities." As long as they're presenting no danger to others, it's their time and money as far as I'm concerned. But there is something to be said for irresponsible timing, an art form Gurkha seems to have mastered.

Furthermore, gossipy "news" outlets like TMZ represent the lowest common denominator of the American media landscape in my estimation. Every story they publish is another chink in the armor of American intellect, and an affront to good taste and good sense.

Gahhh! Enough of my ranting...what do YOU think?

- Hayward Tenney

4 comments:

MountChuck said...

I have to agree. It's demeaning to Michael Phelps and detrimental to the cigar market to associate cigars with an illegal substance. I don't smoke many Gurkhas, but I will make it a point to no longer purchase any of their products. This was a cheap ploy that might work on only those who do not smoke cigars regularly. What a disgrace.

Calestus said...

I agree that it was a really cheesy move on gurhkas part....But look at the market they seem to cater to, I mean sure they have some semi-decent blends. The majority of their stuff however, is just image touted over-priced mediocre junk.

Perfect for the market segment a pot smoking celebrity relates to.

Aficionado of Cigars said...

There is a strong correlation between cheap machine made cigars and cannabis smokers as it's possible to chop them up and use the tobacco.

I'd be surprised if Gurkha would want to be associated with either. However because tobacco marketting is so restricted I can see how they might be a bit desparate for ideas.

TD said...

Can't say I know a thing about Gurkhas, but I couldn't agree more about TMZ — it's the worst of the worst. There's definitely a market for it, though, just as there's a market for AXE, wine coolers, and those delightful car decals featuring Calvin peeing on Chevy, Ford, or the French flag.