Viewers who proudly live and die by ESPN

Maybe I’m just not into brands as much as the next person. At the Advertising Research Foundation’s Re:Think conference today, ESPN sales dude Sean Bratches proudly trotted out the fact that 31 children have been named “ESPN,” or some derivation thereof, in recent years. I shuddered. Seriously, how does that baby-naming conversation start? You have to imagine it’s the guy’s idea. And by the way, this is why other parts of the world think we’re nuts. Bratches added that customer infatuation with the Worldwide Leader in Sports goes beyond birth to the afterlife. Recently, he said, a woman contacted the network to inform them that her husband left this world while watching Baseball Tonight, presumably while listening to Joe Morgan. She wanted to include ESPN on his tombstone somehow. Naturally, her call was routed to ad sales, which, together with legal, determined it was OK so long as the tombstone read “ESPN Fan.” Just so nobody got the idea that the Worldwide Leader was anything but alive and kicking.

—Posted by Brian Morrissey