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Sunday, January 26, 2003

Felcher and Sons ... you've gotta be kidding me...

Okay...a useless catch near the end of the third quarter cost me $125 in Superbowl pool winnings, so I might be a little bitter right now. But, I've spent the last 20 minutes trying to figure out who was less prepared for Superbowl Sunday. At first I thought it was Rich Gannon. Now, I'm starting to believe it was Reebok shoes and the group that produces it's advertising. Somebody in the censorship office really dropped the ball tonight.

Click here to see what I'm talking about.

The ad, I admit, is quite clever. Nothing better than a linebacker in the middle of an office. But listen and look closely. The name of the company that hired Office Linebacker Terry Tate is "Felcher and Sons."

Rapid Eye Reality is not the place to define the term "felcher" but a quick poll among those at my mini-Superbowl party indicated about 60-70 % of people know the slang definition. It is a popular enough gutter phrase to have earned a sly reference in the South Park Movie. In that movie Felcher and Sons was a piano production company.

In Reebok's newest ad, Felcher and Sons is the company that hires Terry Tate to boost office productivity. The commercial doesn't give much of an indication exactly what the company produces, but I find myself chuckling at the thought.

A mock news release on the Reebok website reads like this:

"Terry Tate is, quite simply, the greatest office athlete in the game today — bar none," said Micky Pant, SVP of Reebok worldwide marketing. "We're thrilled to have Terry aboard. He represents everything Reebok stands for: hard work, honesty, and 100% heart."

So, one of three things happened:

1) The ad producers had no idea "felching" has been part of the ugly slang-world vernacular for years and years and named the company in the ad after a noted Harvard author who probably has lived her entire life wishing her last name was Smith...

2) Some clever little rat in the Arnell Group succeeded in sneaking one by the more conservative element of the Reebok Shoe company...

3) The Arnell Group and Reebok both were aware of the little nudge-nudge the commercial offered and thought...what better way to show we're an edgy, open-minded company than to use a little street slang in our seemingly innocuous commercial?

Make no mistake...I loathe censorship. I appreciate creative wink-wink ads. And I once knew and admired a guy nicknamed Felcher (long story for another time).

But I'd expect something a little less base from one of the biggest shoe producers in the world.

What's next...Snowball Wears Nikes?

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