Marching To The Tune Of A Different Patriotic TV Drummer

Government advertising: your tax dollars at work.  I always figure that when advertising of any sort occurs -- even subtle messaging -- someone gets paid.

Federal and governmental agencies pay for advertising/ sponsorship to help recruitment for the armed services, to name a few objectives.

Perhaps you have seen that on TV. A simple message/symbol, with lot of meaning and potential sentiment -- like an American flag -- might make its onto football fields, and perhaps other displays in other sports venues.

The New Jersey Army National Guard and the Department of Defense paid the New York Jets a total of $377,000 from 2011 to 2014 for digital banners, video, and other advertising. The Defense Department paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million over the past four seasons for patriotic displays.

Still some don’t like that idea of a money exchange.

“Those of us go to sporting events and see them honoring the heroes,” wrote U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) in a letter sent to the Secretary of Defense and the chief of the National Guard Bureau. “You get a good feeling in your heart. Then to find out they’re doing it because they’re compensated for it, it leaves you underwhelmed. It seems a little unseemly.”



No, it doesn’t. Everything cost money in the government -- roads, police and fire services, and advertising to recruit for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and other armed services. That said, I’m sure venues also honor heroes in other ways -- maybe even the non-payment kinds.

Is that advertising or just a good-hearted message? Should we disclose when money is exchanged for such stuff? (“The following gigantic flag on the field was paid for by the National Guard”). Do some believe this stuff should be as a public service announcement?

The other side of the argument: Showing a flag that spans a football field -- with no other specific call to action message --  may also be just plain subliminal, further complicating the issue.  

I have no ill will toward Coca-Cola for trying to sell me a cold, sweet flavored  carbonated beverage on a hot day when it displays a simple bottle of the drink; nor a governmental agency looking to proudly elicit positive brand value.

Show me a good big flag, and I might just say: “Nice flag.  Now, where did the marching band go?”

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