Super Envy

I always thought New York had the biggest, but now I see that Florida and Southern California are both claiming to have bigger ones.

Christmas trees, that is.

In the past 24 hours I’ve seen two different newscasts mention that municipalities in each of those sunny states say they have topped Rockefeller Center’s 80-foot arboreal splendor with their own Big Green.

I don’t know where, exactly. Someplace warm. I don’t remember because I tuned out in disgust. When I think of Christmas trees, I want to recall the smell of crisp, cold air, not Coppertone. I want to imagine the soothing slide of skates on ice, not bikini-clad co-eds giggling.

We can’t ever leave big enough alone. We always have to outdo each other. Something gets big, even something as beautiful as the tree in Rockefeller Center, and some putz has to go and build a bigger (and almost never better) one.

As it is in the forest, so it is in the jungle of broadcast television.

The Super Bowl is the best (and maybe the only) pedestal advertising has ever had, but we can’t leave it alone. Now everyone wants to offer their very own biggest advertising show on the small screen. I’ve even heard buyers call the Academy Awards the “Super Bowl for women.”

What’s next, Survivor as the best ad showcase on TV? According to Jim as the next platform for commerce as art? The Bachelor as the next opportunity to marry video voyeur ism with agency creatives’ insatiable desire to show spots so they can win awards?

When everything becomes an exhibition for advertising, national broadcast buyers will have all the more reason to wrench riches from marketers and then brag to each other about how they negotiated their Bachelor package down to “only” an 8 percent increase over last year’s exorbitant rate.

And then BBDO will buy every second of available inventory, and we’ll have to watch prepubescent pop stars preening and singing badly on every over-the-air network. Or Budweiser will buy it all, and an infinite series of hirsute slackers who have popped a few too many brewskis will appear, making bizarre guttural sounds during the breaks on World News Tonight. (“Whassup, Peter!?”)

Any attempts to replicate the Super Bowl spectacle will backfire.

First, if you’re going to try to re-create the ad pageantry, you’d better make sure the audience comes with that kind of expectation. So you’ll have to hype your version with the same media onslaught the Super Bowl gets. This will add to the clutter. Viewers will be displeased.

Second, you’ll have to pound the drums even earlier. As it is, the hype surrounding Super Bowl advertising begins around midseason. This is worse than Christmas ads showing up in October. Viewers will be irked.

Third, the Super Bowl’s ability to celebrate salesmanship as much as (and often more than) football is unique. Mess with that and viewers will be royally ticked off.

Too many big games, or big shows, and nobody will watch any ads anymore. What could be more depressing than that?

OK, Christmas trees in California come close.