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Every now and then I like to go back and look at old advertising posters. It's what I do when I can't/won't sleep and what I find makes me happy. It's a way of getting my head into simpler times and a way to unclutter my thought process. I look at these old ads to see how advertising agencies and marketing people reinterpreted the motivations for certain products or, in the case of bowling, which advertisers associated bowling with their products.

Not surprising it was the beer, booze and cigarette guys that helped to define bowling's image in the 50's, 60's and 70's. Every now and then Coke, Pepsi or Seven-Up jumped in and associated their product with bowling, which gave us a more family-style image. But it was too little and sometimes too late.

And we are still fighting that image today, although much less so. Yet, we are STILL letting the beer, beverage and chicken people define us. For the 240 million people who do not bowl, but may buy beer, frozen pizza and frozen chicken products, this is WHO we are. We are beer, frozen pizza and chicken wings. It's OK, but it isn't what I would call "cool" or a motivationally inspiring reason to go bowling.

Somehow we need to begin associating ourselves with cooler products. Products that say we are modern, cool, hip and something "desirable."

Why not Apple iPods or iPhones or Levi's jeans or Nike sneakers? Who wears more jeans than bowlers?!?

It isn't that hard to do. We need to march up and down Madison Avenue and tell these agencies about our demographics, show them how much product bowlers buy and why a bowling motif for their product makes sense on cable TV, network TV, in print, on radio and of course, of course, online!

At a recently attended seminar, I heard my favorite ex-Coach of the NY Knicks say, "Don't let anybody tell you who you are." He was talking about being in control, of being the master of our own destinies. So why are we still asking people to control us?

Isn't it time WE told people who we are.

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Comment by Reed Freeman on February 17, 2010 at 5:41pm
Fred, In my minds eye I can still see the book of matches with a bowler on the front and the words, "Bowl for Health". Can it get any crazier than that?

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