Plug It

So why don't you tell us about your new neurosis?

The Green Room- The plug is a ubiquitous part of our culture.  Nary a form of media is immune to it.  Whether it’s an actor appearing on a late night talk show to plug a new movie, a musician plugging a new album in a magazine interview, or any of the other countless ways in which people subtly pitch their products, the plug is everywhere.

Many plugs, such as the examples I just mentioned, are obvious to us.  Ostensibly, that actor is there to chit chat with the host, tell an amusing story, shoot the glamorous shit.  But of course there’s the obligatory mention of the new movie, probably a clip to show as well.  And we know.  We know that while it’s called a talk show, really it’s plug show.  Most of the guests don’t come on for the pittance of money or because they want to.  They do it because they need to promote their new product.

But sometimes plugs are a little slier.  We’re all pretty savvy, pretty jaded.  So often the most effective plugs are the ones that fly under the radar, the ones that don’t reveal themselves as plugs.

Perhaps a newspaper columnist, in the middle of an article about something or another, relates it to a wonderful new book he or she has just read.  The reference seems relevant, the article has a higher purpose, and the writer has credibility.  Maybe you don’t think twice about why the book is being referenced.

But the next time you’re in a bookstore or perusing the ebook offerings, maybe you do think twice about that book the columnist mentioned.  Maybe you buy it.  And that was no accident.  The publisher gave the columnist the book for free, hoping that he or she would plug it, subtly.

A couple of months ago, an editor from Potomac Books sent me a free copy of Curt Smith’s new book, A Talk in the Park: Nine Decades of Baseball Tales from the Broadcast Booth.  Had the American media machine finally found me?  Was Madison Avenue courting the Public Professor to use his exalted perch atop MTM for pushing product?

Not exactly.  That editor also happens to be a friend.

Why don't you tell us about your new breakdown?

I think you’ll like this book,” she said.  “If you do and you’d like to plug it, that’d be great.  If not, just consider it a gift.

I read most of the book on a plane ride home from northern California.  And you know what?  It was a goddamn page-turner.  Smith has collected hundreds of reminiscences from major and minor league baseball announcers, young and old alike.  They are men who genuinely love the game and know how to spin an entertaining yarn about the things they have seen on and off the diamond.  I enjoyed it immensely and am passing my copy on to a friend.

So there you have it.  The Public Professor’s first-ever, and perhaps last ever, kinda commercial plug.  I got an unsolicited free book (NOTE: I am not soliciting free materials from anyone), you got an honest opinion about it, and my friend the editor maybe picks up a sale or two.  But more importantly, everyone got full disclosure.

And if the book had been lousy?  Well, I guess I woulda written about something else today.

Either way, Cheesy Bruin writes about something else tomorrow.

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About The Public Professor 79 Articles
Mattville's George Plimpton, The Public Professor, is indeed a real, honest-to-goodness, legitimate professor at a major Maryland university. But because he doesn't have a cell phone or cable, he's crazy enough to be with us. A member of Angry Ward's Urban Spur Posse, the terrorized Bronx graffiti artist's by correcting their grammar. His loves? The Yankees, Knicks, NY Rangers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also has a real website: ThePublicProfessor.com (http://www.thepublicprofessor.com/).