It’s a delicate subject to discuss.
And for weeks I’ve avoided bringing it up to spare readers from having to have a deep discussion on such a touchy subject.
But it’s something we all can relate to, whether we admit it or not, and after repeated assaults on my senses, I no longer can remain silent. Watching Chicago Bulls games will be a thing of the past for me if changes aren’t made soon.
I’m talking about the repeated airing of a commercial for the PointsBet Sportsbook app during Bulls telecasts on NBC Sports Chicago.
It’s a simple premise: The 30-second ad is meant to show the ease of betting on the app. It portrays a man who kind of resembles Aaron Rodgers in a bright, red-collared shirt. He’s sitting down looking at his phone and clicking away on what appear to be some surefire bets. We are supposed to assume he’s making a killing with virtually no effort whatsoever.
Well, perhaps some effort, though not the kind you can talk about in polite company. It’s clear this man is sitting on a toilet. The key evidence is the toilet paper dispenser in the background with the roll inexplicably inserted backward.
The message of the PointsBet ad is basically that you can bet on No. 1 Tennessee — or any team — while going No. 2.
It’s probably unfair to single out Bulls telecasts for airing this crappy (pun intended) ad. It’s on other NBC Sports Chicago programs as well. But as the only nonrebuilding Chicago sports team this winter, the Bulls are the only ones really watchable.
So Bulls fans are forced to watch the ad multiple times on game nights, often while eating dinner.
This is most unfortunate because in the ad, after the man cashes in his winning bets, his body moves forward slightly, and a brief, unexplainable noise can be heard in the background. A viewer only can deduce that he has, uh, dropped a deuce.
It’s a cringeworthy moment that sends you reaching for the remote. I’ve seen it enough to keep the remote handy when watching the Bulls so I can turn the channel before the big payoff (pun intended).
Why PointsBet believes anyone would want to take a load off (no pun intended) and watch a man defecating is anyone’s guess. PointsBet brand director Josh Powell explained the “Do It Live” ad campaign to gamblingnews.com, insisting that betting on the toilet is a common occurrence.
“We view the bathroom as the ultimate sanctuary where plenty of people leave the world behind, get out their phone and use the PointsBet app,” Powell said. “While our original creative vision was a bit out of the box for broadcast, at the end of the day, whether you want to admit it or not, loads of us have enjoyed the thrill of a cash-out while being king — or queen — of the porcelain.”
The version not shown on TV includes a full shot of the man with his pants down to his ankles, so maybe we’re lucky. The less revealing cut is shown on NBC’s network and digital channels, including NBC Sports Chicago, according to the report.
An NBC Sports Chicago spokesman on Friday deferred questions to PointsBet, declining to say when the ads will stop airing. PointsBet spokesman Patrick Sandusky said it hasn’t had any complaints and that people enjoy the ad. Everyone has different tastes, I suppose.
“It’s a tongue-in-cheek ad,” he said.
No pun intended. I think.
Sandusky added that the bathroom is a sanctuary where “a guy can collect his thoughts and kind of leave the world behind.” He agreed it was a “little out of the box” and said it was a coincidence the actor looks like Rodgers.
“When we shot it we didn’t know the Packers were also going to be in the toilet,” he said, pun intended.
I’m not naive. I understand people make bets while sitting on the toilet, just as they scroll through Twitter, Facebook and many other apps there. You might even be reading this column on some device, or with newspaper in hand like the old days, while sitting alone in your bathroom. We’ve all been there.
I don’t object to betting while sitting on the toilet, whether you look like Rodgers or not. Still, I feel as if it’s my duty (pun intended) to point out to NBC Sports Chicago that some viewers might be turned off by repeated visuals of a sports junkie on the john during every game.
It not only can ruin our appetite but our overall enjoyment of what NBA basketball is all about. We want to see high-flying dunks, not bricklaying. We want to see King James, not some Rodgers clone on the throne.
So please stop dumping (no pun intended) this commercial on helpless viewers. There’s enough crap on TV without having to watch someone actually doing it.
This weekend we’ll see the end of another onslaught of annoying ads, ones created by political candidates for the Tuesday election. Maybe this would be the right time for NBCSCH to announce it’s pulling the plug on the PointsBet ad and replacing it with a good, old-fashioned Nugenix ad featuring Frank Thomas.
We’re begging you, NBC Sports Chicago.
Just doo-doo it.