Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, February 17, 2021

FedEx has an undeniable case of the basketball jones. Consider:

This week, the package-delivery giant attempted to graft its corporate colors (orange and purple) onto the men’s hoops uniforms of the University of Memphis Tigers. The NCAA declared this — amid the multifarious advertising and marketing imagery also on display in the arena during “FedEx Appreciation Night” — to be in violation of the church-state divide, and so squashed it.

I wonder how many people recognize that this is but the latest try by FedEx to buy its way onto the jerseys and shorts of big-time basketball. In fact, the last high-profile attempt was when the National Basketball Association arrived in FedEx’s corporate hometown of Memphis in 2001. The then-Vancouver Grizzlies got a $100 million package offer from the company that led to naming rights for the eventually-built FedEx Forum, and would have also included a complete makeover for the franchise: The new orange/purple uniforms, and a name change to “Memphis Express”.

The arena portion of the deal went down fine, but the NBA killed off the team corp-branding. Like the college guys today, the pro-hoopsters weren’t (and probably still aren’t, almost ten years later) ready to sacrifice the essence of their franchises to the marketing gods — yet.

Regardless, this points to a pattern for FedEx. The C-level braintrust obviously really wants to muscle its way onto the hardwood, and identifies big-league sports in general as a desirable marketing channel. If any corporate entity succeeds in buying a franchise identity among the major pro/college sports, FedEx seems to have the inside track.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/17/2009 09:20pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Basketball, SportsBiz
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Given that everyone and their monkey now carries around a wireless phone, and that those phones are increasingly coming equipped with online-enabled navigational elements (whether we want them or not), we’re probably not too far away from relying upon them to enhance what we see with our unaided eyes:

Indeed, a new generation of smartphones like the G1, with Android software developed by Google, and a range of Japanese phones now “augment” reality by painting a map over a phone-screen image of the user’s surroundings produced by the phone’s camera…

“I always said the next interface would be Quake,” said Steve Capps, one of the designers of the original Macintosh interface, referring to the popular video game. “How long will it be before you come out of the subway and you hold up your screen to get a better view of what you’re looking at in the physical world?”

In other words, a fulfillment of the old concept of “immersive” virtual reality, but without the dorky headgear from the early ’90s. (Although upon further review, I guess the dorkiness evolved into today’s Bluetooth earpieces.)

Coincidentally, I’ve been eyeing an App Store game for my iTouch that mimics this sort of experience, albeit in pure fantasy terms. Ghost Buddy from Quinnscape looks like a slightly rough product, but it’s fairly high-concept: Position your iPod/iPhone so that it behaves as a viewfinder-window into a parallel world that still accounts for real-world gravity and scale. I guess I should go ahead and buy it and start getting used to this hint of real-world things to come…

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/17/2009 01:05pm
Category: Tech, Videogames, iPod
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the competition
Coming soon to an Olympics near you (yes, seriously), it’s yoga as practiced in competition.

The rules have to get around the challenge of achieving mind-body harmony within the competitive arena:

The end goal of all yoga is to get to samadhi, a state of enlightened bliss where the ego separates from the self and the practitioner realizes that he’s powerless to control the vagaries of an endlessly shifting universe. Obviously, this can’t be quantified. Instead, yoga competitions involve various asanas, or poses, within hatha, the physical branch of yoga. As in diving, figure skating, or Platonic philosophy, there’s an ideal form.

The competition involves five compulsory poses: standing-head-to-knee, which goes just as it sounds; standing bow, in which you balance on one leg with one arm extended forward and the other arm drawing back the lifted leg; bow pose, in which, on the floor, you grab both feet with your hands and arch back; “rabbit,” which involves scrunching up into a little ball; and a seated forward stretch. After that, the competitors get to pick two optional poses, where they can really strut. They have three minutes to complete the routine, or else they get penalized.

I’m imagining much chest-bumping after your synchronized yogi-mate nails that rabbit pose.

Two thoughts from me:

1. Suddenly, Wii Fit Yoga — which I had considered antithetical by nature of combining videogaming with a meditative-based regimen — makes a lot of sense.

2. For some reason, I want to see what would happen if the Master of the Flying Guillotine were to bust in on one of these yoga-thons.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/17/2009 11:03am
Category: Creative, Other Sports, Videogames
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