Brut lives! Just check out the Sun Bowl
I walked into the Sun Bowl media room Monday and grabbed the usual assortment of materials. Press guides. Interview schedules. OU season CD. Sun Bowl notebook with no lines, which is spiffy for drawing but not so great for writing.
And a small paper packet of Brut after shave, in the shape of a Brut bottle.
Call the bowls a monument to marketing. Like someone in a chat said during the 2008 Brut Sun Bowl, when posters debated the political correctness of some Brut commercials: “I didn’t even know the damn stuff was still around.”
Brut was big when I was a kid. Provocative commercials — “after shower, after shave, after anything.” Exotic catchphrase — “Brut, by Faberge’.” Hall of Fame cast of endorsers — Joe Namath, Hank Aaron, Wilt Chamberlain, Muhammad Ali.
I hadn’t thought of Brut in 20 years until it signed on to sponsor the Sun Bowl. That’s what marketing is all about.
I once abhorred bowl sponsorships, just because of the name bastardization. Some of the bowls migrated away from their roots. For instance, there is no Peach Bowl anymore; it’s the Chick-fil-A Bowl. I love me some Chick-fil-A and wish I could cover that game, because a bunch of chicken sandwiches on a table are a lot more appealing than tiny little packets of Brut. But still, the Peach Bowl sounds way better.
There is no more Citrus Bowl. It’s the Capital One Bowl. Bowls named after financial services are a little tacky during this economic downturn, don’t you think, since they helped fuel the collapse?
The Motor City is now the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, the Tangerine is now the Champs Sports Bowl, the Copper is now the Insight Bowl.
Some bowls are just total sellouts to commercialism. Forty years from now, guys from Pitt and North Carolina will have to tell their grandkids they played in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Some bowls toss out official names that require two breaths just to say. Advo Care V100 Independence Bowl. Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
Of course, some bowl sponsorships actually sort of enhance the name. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. That doesn’t sound bad. Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. Valero Alamo Bowl. Brut is that way with the Sun.
The Sun Bowl once was sponsored by John Hancock financial services, even was called the John Hancock Bowl for awhile, which made no sense, because John Hancock conjures images of Philadelphia, not El Paso.
Wells Fargo took on the Sun Bowl for awhile, which was totally cool. Wells Fargo makes you think of Death Valley Days and stagecoaches and the frontier. A Wells Fargo/El Paso marriage seems perfectly normal.
Vitalis sponsored the Sun Bowl for awhile, and just like Brut, who knew they still made that snake oil? Every Sunday morning until I was probably 12, my mom would baptize me and my brother with what had to be a quarter bottle of Vitalis each. No matter how long I live, I’ll never forget that smell and that feel. I assume I could get the same experience by dumping some Crisco oil on my head while frying eggs.
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