Spineless ĎSurvivorí Sponsors Sneak Awayby David Bloomberg -- 09/05/2006
As you may have heard, GM has terminated its sponsorship of Survivor, coincidentally just a short while after it was announced that Survivor: Cook Islands would begin with four tribes divided by ethnicity. (Iíve already addressed what I think of the whole so-called controversy.) Then, a little while later, other advertisers Ė including Coca Cola and Home Depot Ė similarly announced they would not be sponsoring Survivor anymore. But all of them assured us it had nothing to do with the way tribes are split up this time. Nope, nothing at all. Total coincidence.
I mean, come on, people. Do the advertisers think weíre really that dumb? Itís all just bad timing? Heaven forbid an advertiser would pull out because of something controversial, right?
GM claims they decided to pull out because their cards canít easily be featured on a show that takes place on an island. Funny how the show has managed to incorporate cars for the last 12 seasons! I guess weíre supposed to believe that somebody in the GM advertising department just woke up?
A GM spokesperson said, ďIt is my understanding that we did not know what the new format was when the decision was made.Ē Uh huh. Of course, that could just mean nobody higher up told the spokesperson, thus the reason itís their understanding. Or they could just be lying.
Why would they do that? Apparently, major companies want to avoid controversies without looking like theyíre avoiding controversies, which is a controversy in and of itself. So in this case, they donít want to offend people who think Survivor is doing something improper, but they also donít want to offend people like me who donít think itís a big deal.
The problem is that they also seem to think weíre all a bunch of idiots. Letís say I was the type of person who would get so offended by these companies dropping sponsorship of my favorite show that I would refuse to buy their products. I would also have to be a freaking moron to buy their excuses and thus continue to buy their products anyway.
Maybe Iím not representative of the average viewer/consumer, but I would much rather have seen GM, Coke, and Home Depot come out and say, ďWe disagree with the way Survivor is making race an issue, and therefore we do not want to be associated with the show.Ē I would have thought they were idiots, just like the politicians and others who have said similar things sight-unseen, but at least they would have been honest idiots. Instead, now I think of them as dishonest, gutless idiots who donít even have the courage of their convictions Ė however wrong those convictions might have been.
Iím sure CBS will find replacement sponsors, if they havenít already. Survivor might not be drawing the ratings it once was, but itís still a top show and will certainly draw higher ratings at least in the beginning of the season due to all the extra press itís gotten from the racial tribes. Like any season of Survivor (or any other reality show, for that matter), where the ratings go after that is more up to the storytelling and contestants than anything else.
The GM pull-out may actually even have an upside. All this time, people have said there is a ďcar curse,Ē where the winner of a reward competition featuring a car has never won the million dollars. But maybe it was just a GM car, and whatever company fills GMís shoes will be able to overturn the curse. Weíll just have to watch to find out.
If you havenít already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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