The late Jermaine Stewart once said, “We don’t have to take our clothes off/To have a good time, oh, no.”
In a recently-unveiled campaign promoting the fact that the New York Knicks have games scheduled on Fridays for the entire month of November (three at home, two on the road), the Knicks’ broadcast home, MSG Network, was hoping to deliver the same philosophy, in perhaps the most questionable way possible.
One of the ads shows three Knicks players, including recent offseason acquisition Jason Kidd, with the following text behind them: “It’s Friday night. You can either go out and attempt to pick up sixes and sevens, or stay home and watch Kidd dish out dimes.”
Now, some of you might require looking up “sixes and sevens” in your Funk and Wagnall’s, while others go directly to Urban Dictionary – but alas, the definition of the term as it’s used in this instance is not listed there, so I’ll spell it out for you: You can head to the watering hole and seek a one-night stand with a reasonable-looking lady, or watch a basketball team led by a player with a history of domestic abuse and cheating on his wife (and who most recently picked up a DUI this past summer).
Hmm, tough choice. Is there an option to dance and party all night and drink some cherry wine?
Anyway, this ad was first brought to the world’s attention by ESPN’s Darren Rovell. And say what you want about his taste of women, but he really got the ball rolling with the outrage against the “sixes and sevens” promotion. Because not long after he (or one of his ESPN colleagues) contacted MSG directly about the poor-taste poster, MSG confirmed that they would be doing away with the entire Friday night Knicks campaign altogether.
Yes, there’s a few more where that “sixes and sevens” gem came from. For example: “It’s Friday night. You can either see a Broadway harness malfunction, or you can watch real men fly.”
That ad takes a crack at a series of accidents that took place in late 2010 during the “Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark” show.
Sounds more like an invite to see a live Dennis Miller concert at the Garden. “Broadway harness malfunction.” Really?
New York City residents and visitors may have noticed MSG Network’s splashy ads with white and orange (or blue, depending on the team) font, bearing usually edgy messages, which can be found outside phone booths, atop taxicabs, or inside subways. Consider this selection from their previous “MSG Network is the home of the (insert team name here) the way (insert New York City location here) is the home of (insert snark here)” campaign.
And of course, there’s the “Boomer and Carton” promo campaign, which is on a completely different reservation. It regularly jabs teams outside of New York or fans of them, especially Philadelphia or Boston. Lest we forget the one that advised straphangers to “always offer your seat to a pregnant woman… unless she’s wearing a Red Sox hat.”
Getting back to the “It’s Friday night” ad that led to the campaign’s abrupt demise, the one persuading their target demographic to spend Friday nights in November (a sweeps month, mind you) watching Knicks games, and worry about getting laid on one of the other six nights of the week: This is the same Madison Square Garden that had its own sexual harassment lawsuit woes several years ago.
Hey, if MSG really wanted to push the envelope, they’d point out that one of the Friday night Knicks games this November (in Memphis) starts at 9:30 PM local time, and market that to the “minute men,” if you will.
With Jeremy Lin now on the Houston Rockets’ roster (and think about this: do you think Lin would stand for MSG Network posting an ad like that, regardless of whether or not he was actually in it?), the Garden – and that includes MSG Network – needs all of the good publicity it can get (yes, they managed to somehow screw that up in the Linsanity era).
Catering to the lowest denominator with suggestively graphic taglines meant to be funny just piles on a mountain of negative press that’s taller than Raymond Felton.
Come on, MSG. Won’t you show some class?