Manila Vanilla

What it's like to be a U.S. Fulbright scholar, basketball player, journalist, and the whitest man in Metro Manila.

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Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

New Yorker by birth, shipped across the globe to the world of malls, shanty-towns, patronage, corruption, basketball and a curious burnt-toast smell that wafts around at dusk

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Pushing the Envelope -- PBA Mascots

The PBA is a marketing tool, and it has been one since the league's inception in 1975. PBA commissioners have never denied this. In an October 1980 interview in Atlas Sports Weekly, Commish Leo Prieto said the league was all about entertainment and providing an advertising platform for the franchises' other products. If the league's TV ratings went down or fans lost interest, Prieto predicted that the "money being used by these companies to maintain PBA teams will perhaps be channeled to other forms of advertising."

It sounds strange for the commissioner to refer to his professional basketball league as just another form of advertising, but that's what the PBA is, and that's a big part of why Philippine tycoons fight for the right to own franchises. For some businesses, PBA exposure can mean an huge bump in market share.

Twenty-seven years after Prieto's comments, the league is still going strong, probably because it has never forgotten its duty to its sponsors. The most obvious examples come from teams named after beer, hot dogs and cell phone plans, but the PBA's marketing mission is carried out all the way down the line, from TV ad tie-ins for league sponsors, to the music played during time outs to the mascots who traipse around the arena.

Mr. Softy and Casino Ethyl Alcohol get acquainted at halfcourt of the Ynares Center.


The mascots provide a glimpse of just how determined the league is to push its sponsors' products. Not only do individual teams have mascots -- the Alaska milk franchise sports a guy in a cow suit, Red Bull brings a walking energy drink with an evil grin and Welcoat outfits some poor soul in a giant paint can -- but even businesses that don't own PBA franchises can pay the league for the right to parade a mascot around PBA arenas.

Typically, sports mascots have some human qualities. Some are already people, like Spartans and Celtics. Others are animals -- wildcats or cougars that are easily anthropomorphized. Whether man or beast, they all tend to look cute in furry costumes. Well, PBA mascots are anything but typical. The league will turn any product into a mascot. Last conference, they dressed someone as a cheese-filled waffle on behalf of Waffle Time, a chain of snack stands that sells waffle sticks stuffed with cheese and hot dogs at light rail stations in Metro Manila. The X-treme Magic Sing Mic, a karaoke superhero with a microphone head, has been a mainstay at games for the past two years.

Hey kids, wave to the rubbing alcohol!


Many in the current crop, however, have no human qualities whatsoever. There's something eerie and jarring about watching a bottle of Casino Ethyl Alcohol sprout legs and wink at you. Welcoat's person-in-a-paint can is notable for being partially blind. It needs to be led through the Araneta Coliseum aisles by a seeing-eye person. Finally, it's hard to imagine anything more disturbing than the Omega Painkiller liniment bottle's immensely popular rapid fire pelvic thrusting. This salve is notorious for its role in college basketball teams' hazing rituals, where rookies are forced to apply generous amounts of the numbing agent to their balls. Thinking of this makes watching the mascot do the humpty dance in front of delighted toddlers even more upsetting.

But you know what? As long as it sells liniment, it's fine with the PBA. Enjoy the riveting footage of Omega man shaking whatever's inside his khaki safari shorts.

3 Comments:

Anonymous NYC MovieMaker said...

Now we know where Alien VIII hid her spawn--in that guy's pants.
His gyrations precurse the pubescent Alien monster birthing itself from his groin, at half-time no less!!! And in Manila!!!Who would have guessed?

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Mike the Muckraker said...

In the good old U.S.A. all we do is sell the name of the stadium to the highest corporate bidder--and they hire female flesh to undulate in skimpy gear. Wait until they see they can "outfit" their product and have it march around, I mean, undulate, just as the girls do. Enron used to own the HoustonDome, now what is it called?Halliburton Stadium? How do you dress up Halliburton's product?
I mean, it's a rathole, for pete's sake.

9:34 AM  
Blogger PAK MUS said...

saya mengucapkan banyak terimakasih kepada KI HADAK yang telah menolong saya dalam kesulitan,ini tidak pernah terfikirkan dari benak saya kalau nomor yang saya pasang bisa tembus dan ALHAMDULILLAH kini saya sekeluarga sudah bisa melunasi semua hutang2 kami,sebenarnya saya bukan penggemar togel tapi apa boleh buat kondisi yang tidak memunkinkan dan akhirnya saya minta tolong sama KI HADAK dan dengan senang hati beliau mau membantu saya..,ALHAMDULIL LAH nomor yang dikasi KI semuanya bener2 terbukti tembus dan baru kali ini saya menemukan dukun yang jujur,jangan anda takut untuk menhubungiya jika anda ingin mendapatkan nomor yang betul2 tembus seperti saya,silahkan hubungi KI HADAK DI 085=259=457=111 ingat kesempat tidak akan datang untuk yang kedua kalinya dan perlu anda ketahui kalau banyak dukun yang tercantum dalam internet,itu jangan dipercaya kalau bukan nama KI HADAK
BUKA INI DANA GHAIB TOGEL










saya mengucapkan banyak terimakasih kepada KI HADAK yang telah menolong saya dalam kesulitan,ini tidak pernah terfikirkan dari benak saya kalau nomor yang saya pasang bisa tembus dan ALHAMDULILLAH kini saya sekeluarga sudah bisa melunasi semua hutang2 kami,sebenarnya saya bukan penggemar togel tapi apa boleh buat kondisi yang tidak memunkinkan dan akhirnya saya minta tolong sama KI HADAK dan dengan senang hati beliau mau membantu saya..,ALHAMDULIL LAH nomor yang dikasi KI semuanya bener2 terbukti tembus dan baru kali ini saya menemukan dukun yang jujur,jangan anda takut untuk menhubungiya jika anda ingin mendapatkan nomor yang betul2 tembus seperti saya,silahkan hubungi KI HADAK DI 085=259=457=111 ingat kesempat tidak akan datang untuk yang kedua kalinya dan perlu anda ketahui kalau banyak dukun yang tercantum dalam internet,itu jangan dipercaya kalau bukan nama KI HADAK
BUKA INI DANA GHAIB TOGEL

11:07 PM  

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