Marketing, Psychology, Society

Stand There, Wave This


Image by stokpic from Pixabay

It’s probably not a new idea but I’ve only really noticed in the last few years because I’ve been watching the cricket and the Tour of Britain when it caused massive disruption, sorry, “brought valuable income”, to my home town. The idea in question is handing out flags and banners for spectators to wave during events where, unlike football, the spectators are unlikely to be wearing sponsor branded clothing.

Perhaps you’d expect people watching the Tour of Britain to be waving Union Flags as the cyclists sped past but no, they were enthusiastically waving little green flags in the faces of the lycra-clad pedellers. It soon became obvious that these flags carried the logo of the event sponsor. How does waving a piece of green sponsored plastic show your support to the event? Even national celebrations aren’t immune; I saw a clip of the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations and there were people waving Union Flags, nothing unusual apart from the middle of the flag was covered with the “OK Magazine” logo.

At the cricket fans wave boards with “4” on it when a player hits a boundary, again for no apparent reason – everyone actually paying attention would be aware of the fact that he’d hit a boundary – but just as prominent as the “4” of course is the series sponsor’s name which I will not repeat here as the only advertising on this blog pays for the hosting so I don’t have to. This has also spread to snooker now as at the 2019 World Championship crowd members were holding sponsored banners with “Ton Up” on it to wave when a player scores a century break, accompanied by, when I saw a bit of it, John Virgo hysterically screaming “ton ups, ton ups”… For no apparent reason.

These are examples of how people desperate to be part of what they’re watching, the selfie generation who have to show they were there, to prove it by being in the photo, are tricked into advertising for the sponsors in the hope that they might be seen on tv because they’re waving their bit of printed plastic while also feeling that they’re more involved, as people don’t seem to be satisfied with being passive spectators any more.

(The writing of this blog post was supported by Yorkshire Tea and a Kit Kat, by the way.)


4 thoughts on “Stand There, Wave This

  1. Yes, I have seen this at the cricket both on TV and when I used to go. The corporate sponsor would have people handing out the “4” and “6” cards at the entrance mainly to the kids. If they weren’t available people would still cheer for a boundary but the sponsors want their bit of free advertising and the fans go along with it.
    When you think about it why do we love logos so much? Why do we spend good money to wear a hat or T-shirt advertising beer, motor oils or whatever. Nobody is paying u”o do that and that “merch” (how I hate that term) is not cheap.

    • It is strange that people do spend so much on what would ordinarily be a normal piece of clothing just to end up advertising a company. Maybe its either to show that they’re in tune with whatever’s in fashion or a celebrity has worn, being part of a group, or it’s a status symbol thing. I just wear whatever looks nice and is comfortable, I get perfectly nice shirts for £10 locally.

      • I think that it is all of those things although sometimes it might just be that they like the design of the logo or the colours I guess. Still sporting teams make a lot of money out of it. When I went to the cricket I’d wear something of my own that was green and gold , or purple if I was going to the Big Bash (domestic T20) . I wasn’t going to spend $50 for a sweatshirt I’d only wear a couple of times a year. Of course non profits also make money this way andI don’t begrudge that. I still have a sweatshirt I bought from a local tourist railway 20 years or more ago. I got lots of wear out of it and still wear it to bed on cold nights.

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