Thursday, February 23, 2006

Lance Armstrong should be everyone's hero, right?

Ok, I'm having trouble posting a comment to reply to some comments on the KC Star website regarding the Lance Armstrong poster that is currently being displayed on the side of the American Century building here in KC, MO. So I guess I'll just have to say what I wanna say on my own blog, dammit.

The poster bugs. Armstrong doesn't look friendly, or kind, or interested in our health (or that of our investments, as the case may be), but rather looks a bit intense and annoyed, IMO. You can go visit this link to see the story that explains the reason for the poster, as well as shows a picture of said poster on the web page.

As you can see in the story, this poster covers 8 stories of the side of the American Century building, and is not only a distraction to those driving down the street, but I have seen it noted by more than one person that it creeps them out. Yeah, it didn't make me wanna look into the campaign at all. I can see it from the parking deck I park on every day for work, and all it does is make me wanna get in my car as fast as I can and get out of range of being able to see it.

So someone named Allison Carr wrote in about how the poster bothered her, and the three responses she's received so far are as follows:

(1) "Jeez - Get over it." - Sammy (Thanks for your input Sammy...can't believe someone took the time to log in and say such a meaningful statement, but to each their own.)
(2) "Lance Armstrong is an exemplary athlete and human being who has overcome tremendous personal challenges.

American Century is a respected local corporation.

However, that doesn't change the fact that this is an 8-story high billboard." - enough (I agree with this comment wholeheartedly.)
(3) "You know, it's a shame that someone who has represented our county internationally both as an athlete and as an individual, who has gone through (and beaten) a life-threatening illness, should actually be allowed to promote awareness of his illness to push us towards a cure.

Darn him.

(obviously tongue-in-cheek... I find it ridiculous that people are offended at what Armstrong is trying to accomplish. I say, good for him; I can only hope that if in the future I end up being diagnosed with it that his awareness campaign will have done some good.)" - Jeff H

Ok, now I have something to say back to Jeff H, and so I thought I'd go ahead and say it here, just in case it gets back around to him.

Jeff, I don't think that Allison was saying anything against all the hard work and determination Lance Armstrong has exhibited with regards to his disease and/or his desire to irradicate it. She's bothered as much as loads of other people are in this city by the look on Lance's face, as well as American Century's decision to place a gawd-awful 8 story high poster on the side of their lovely building in order to push a new campaign they have that involves Lance. Let's make sure you understand WHAT that campaign is about, m-kay? Because it's NOT an "awareness campaign" for testicular cancer, as I think you think it is. I've bolded the important things that might help you understand what I mean, just in case that helps you to understand it better. (All of this info was pulled from the article in the KC Star written by Dan Margolies and Dave Helling, published on Friday, 2/10/05, FYI.) Here goes:

"Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner, will serve as the very public face of American Century’s newest series of mutual funds, dubbed Livestrong Portfolios, after the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s "Live strong" exhortation to cancer patients."

(Hm. Not sure what mutual funds have to do with pushing us towards a cure for testicular cancer...maybe you can explain that to me, Jeff.)

"American Century plans to make the most of its association with Armstrong, who will star in print and television advertisements with the slogan "Put Your Lance Face On."

Mark Killen, American Century’s senior vice president of corporate and product marketing, said the "Put Your Lance Face On" campaign would serve as "a rallying cry for investors to follow Lance’s example of focus, determination and drive when making investment decisions.""

So, let's break this down, shall we? Lance Armstrong is likely getting paid a HUGE amount of cash to be involved in this campaign. It is a campaign to promote the newest mutual funds that American Century is offering to it's investors.

Admittedly, the company has said that based on the investments in the funds, they will make an annual contribution to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, so that's all well and good.

But I still don't see why the hell the poster has to be so fucking HUGE, or why people who are bothered by it, like Allison (and myself) should be attacked and seen by other members of our fair community as enemies of Lance Armstrong, his ability to overcome his disease, and apparently all that he represents for us as an American. Shouldn't we be allowed to be bothered by this ugly campaign aspect?

I say we should. And I certainly hope that American Century takes that damned poster down soon. Creeps me right the fuck out. (Hope this helps you understand where people are coming from a bit better, Jeff. You might wanna re-think comments like the one you posted before doing so in the future...)


Coley said...

I'm right there with you Faith. I hate that it's now completely inappropriate to say anything negative about Lance Armstrong. It's as though just because someone had a disease (like cancer, or whatever) they are exempt from any negativity.
I'm not really fond of Lance due to the whole "I dumped the wife who got me through the treatments so I could date Sheryl Crow" thing. Shows a severe lack of character, IMO.

And, yeah, that is an awful poster, say what you will about Lance. His face does not inspire me with confidence, focus and determination. Perhaps a more attractive picture could have been chosen? Just a thought.

Brian said...

Don't worry, it comes down on the 28th. American Century only has a temporary permit from the city for the sign.

BTW, did you know what type of business American Century was before the sign?

April said...

I freak out EVERY single time I come around the curve and see it.

And while perhaps giving away too much about where I work - all I'll say is that it doesn't look much better from the inside.

Faith said...

Yes I knew what type of business American Century was prior to this publicity bullshit. I'm 32 years old, and a seasoned investor. Just because I'm a blogger that talks about bowel movements more often than what my personal investing goals are doesn't mean I'm an idiot.

What a stupid question!

And it was up for much too long, IMO. I understand that the company wanted some sort of flurry of attention, but again, the scary-Lance doesn't make me want to use them for my future investment needs by any means. He needed to look less intense and annoyed. And the majority of backtalk I've heard about that poster reflects the same opinion. In fact, ALL of the backtalk I've heard does!

brian said...

I didn't mean to insult your intelligence. (even though you have now insulted mine)

There are a lot of people in this city that don't know what American Century does. I get asked all of the time, "is that insurance or real estate?"

Faith said...

Sorry Brian. Hopefully you can see where I thought it seemed as though you were pointing out that I'm just another dumb consumer falling for one of the oldest advertising tricks in the book.

Didn't mean to insult your intelligence. But I thought your question was rude, and I responded in kind. I don't like being questioned on my intelligence. I don't think most people do.

C Hill said...

Love Lance. Hate the poster. The poster was novel and cool the first few days. Now it's just annoying. There's a puppy on the side of a building at about 17th Street & Main. Much cuter. If we could put a puppy up there, who could complain about that?