Brand Upon The Brain

Darren Rovell has been kicked around a lot this week. He deserves it, but he's also just doing his job.
Share |

The most interesting thing about what has been a rough last week for ESPN writer and human GoDaddy.com commercial Darren Rovell, if there's anything all that interesting about it, is that it went by without a signature Rovell mini-outrage until early on Thursday. This isn't to say that Rovell wasn't offensive in his usual smaller, lower register—he was, of course, although this was the milder sort of offense that doubles as Rovell simply doing his chosen gig. In Rovell's Twitter bio, that job is defined as "sports business reporter," which is maybe accurate enough until it becomes hugely inaccurate.

The rough outline of the job appears to be this: Rovell spends most of the day on Twitter, delivering various factoids about recognizable brands and things that are happening to or with them. Imagine a high-def screen bearing some giddy-gross advertising messageswinging out unbidden from a lamppost in some dystopian-quasi-present George Saunders story, and you're close—the majority of Rovell's communication takes the form of a blurt/burp in which the name of a well-known brand appears somewhere near the name of a famous person and, if possible, an implausibly precise dollar figure that assesses the value of that relationship. When Marco Rubio interrupted his cottonmouthed Reagan-karaoke routine after Tuesday's State of the Union address for a sip from a small bottle of Poland Spring water, I joked that Rovell would pull together a tidbit explaining the value of that on-camera sip. That joke, which was not even quite a joke, preceded Rovell's actual tweet—which noted the brand placement and mentioned Poland Spring's popularity and 2012 sales—by just a few minutes.

I haven't followed Rovell on Twitter for some time, mostly because I feel as if I'm getting enough opportunities to Interact With My Favorite Brands and Celebrate My Preferences every day as it is. I find out when Rovell has done something especially Rovell-ian—something dishonest or skeevy or otherwise reflective of his Aspergersian inability to recognize that there are times when the power or presence of some brand or other is not the most important thing—thanks to my Twitter feed, which erupts briefly in a chorus of "this fucking guy"'s and sarcastic thrashings and the other crashes and clanks of last straws settling into place. He can be more or less offensive in the doing of it, but this is finally just Rovell doing Rovell's job, which is to be a little machine that extrudes branded factoids onto the social media conveyer belt like so many pallid, spongy boiled hams, bound to disappoint and dehydrate customers at the world's saddest delis. It's depressing, but luckily there is no requirement that anyone know or care who Rovell is, or listen to him when he talks, or read what he writes. He could not be easier to ignore.

His work cries out for that ignoring, in fact. The majority of Rovell's writing, at least at ESPN, is as rote, abstracted and joyless as his tweets: he mostly repurposes press releases about various developments—the Yankees have a new ticket resale plan with Ticketmaster, or Jell-O's Super Bowl marketing stunt. ("We lost our core family consumer," Jell-O's senior brand manager told Rovell. "We want them to know that we're about fun.") There is some writing and we can only presume some small amount of talking on the phone involved in this part of Rovell's job, but it doesn't exactly feel like reporting—there is no story being followed from one stage to the next, no palpable angle being taken, no perspective in evidence. The business of sports is interesting, but that's not what Rovell is covering so much as he's covering the brandstunts that are designed to synergize and coincide with sports things, and which are targeted at people who watch sports.

It's worth wondering whether anyone would want to read a long story on Jell-O's marketing plan to reach and recapture football viewers, but Rovell isn't writing that story, anyway. The gambit is the thing, and Rovell covers these various brandstunts with the weary dutifulness of a White House pool reporter, appends the relevant sales figures at the end of the story (or tweet) to show his work, and moves on to the next.

So there isn't really a proper name for what Rovell does, because it's new, and because he seems to be re-imagining it on the fly. Every day he tweets the book. It's a shitty book, of course. But its shittiness and his isn't really new, or news.

***

If there's something offensive about the job that Rovell has—and there is plenty, actually, most of which can be traced to the way it repurposes journalism into another spam funnel—the thing that seems persistently to bother people about it is how he does it. Will Leitch dropped a daisy cutter of an anti-tribute on Rovell at Sports On Earth, and it's less about Rovell's awful cynical job than it is about what an asshole he is in the doing of it. Tom Ziller, in what might be a more damaging critique, went to the trouble of laying out Rovell's weird and gratuitous dishonesty in the trollish pursuit of a Twitter spat over the question of whether Sacramento deserved to keep the Kings; Rovell, unsurprisingly, was taking the position that Sacramento just didn't have what it takes.

This is Rovell when he's at home, it seems: a Trump-ian kicker of "losers," a cheerlead-y booster of any and all business "innovation"—not so much a free market fanboy as something more like a marketing enthusiast. There may well be some expertise in this field buried in Rovell's flat-affect press release reiteration, but it's not easy to find in either his tweets or his longer writing—the sales numbers and out-of-nowhere value assessments ("That swig of Gatorade was worth $113,455!") take the place of context, and quotes pulled from press releases stand in for the perspective that could have come from those who have some to lend. Compilation, recitation: that's all that Rovell asks of himself, but more damningly it seems to be just about all that Rovell's job asks of him.

If Rovell is a jerk on his spare time—bragging on his six-figure Twitter following, a full 48 percent of which consists of active accounts owned by humans, per Status People; grousing that they don't make Playmates like they used to; pulling for a basketball team to desert an unfashionable city—the bigger problem would seem to be what he does at work. This week's Rovell outrage came when, with his characteristic tact and perspective, Rovell noted that South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius was wearing an Oakley sweatshirt when he was led from his home by police after being arrested in the shooting death of his girlfriend. He followed it with a torrent of Rovellian reportage—the statements issued by Pistorius' various sponsors, updates on the status of advertising campaigns that featured Pistorius. There was a photo of a Pistorius billboard coming down, although there was no indication of whether it was connected to the arrest; Rovell simply took the photo (with attribution) from the Instagram of a South African marketer and posted it as his own Twitpic.

And Twitter roiled as it does. This fucking guy, who could follow him and why, et fumingly cetera. By early afternoon, Rovell had moved on, tweeting without context the dollar figures that college football television and radio rights were worth in 1970. It's maybe unfair to knock a tweet for a lack of context: there are only so many characters available, after all. But this, as much as that crass tweet about the brand impact of a maybe-murderer's sweatshirt or the ones that will invariably follow it, was just Rovell at work, doing the job he has been given to do, and for the doing of which he is paid handsomely. It's not a question of characters or space so much as it is of expectation: give Rovell as much money as ABC and ESPN give him, give him as many characters as there are and all the time in the world, and this sort of poker-faced horrorshow is what you will always get.

It's all Rovell seems capable of giving, and that's on him and that's a shame. His bosses have continually told him that it's enough, and paid and promoted him as if it were valuable, and that's incalculably worse. His excuse is being Darren Rovell. What's theirs?


Share |

Comments

Liked just of your blog post.Much thanks again. Awesome.Im grateful for this article post. Awesome.Really enjoyed that blog article.Much thanks again. Significantly obliged.Awesome post.Really looking towards read more. Hold writing.I really benefit from the post.Much thanks again. Fantastic.Thank you for the website article.Really many thanks! Really Great.I price the article.Thanks Again. Fantastic.Wholesale Diamonds Dallas

This is also a very good post which I really enjoyed reading. It is not everyday that I have the possibility to see something like this.. Georgia appeal lawyers

Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article.I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article. female escorts in hyderabad

Im pleased for the blog post. Want more.Looking ahead to examining more. Great blog.Really getting excited about study more.I loved your post. Significantly obliged.This is one amazing blog article.Really many thanks! Will study on...Awesome article.Really thanks! Awesome.Say, you got a good blog post.Really thank you! Actually Great.Major thankies for the blog.Much thanks again. Great.ราคา ตู้คอนเทนเนอร์

A round of applause for the blog.Really thank you! Fantastic.I think this is a real good blog. Actually Great.I actually enjoy the blog.Really thank you! Actually Cool.Really informative post.Much thanks again. Fantastic.Thank you for the article. Really Cool.Thanks so significantly for the article.Thanks Again. Want more.
Good, thanks for sharing this blog article.Thanks Again. Cool.Fantastic blog post.Really thank you! Cool.Really appreciate you sharing that post.Really looking towards read more. Awesome.
sun tv live online

Its my great pleasure to visit your blog and to enjoy your great posts here. I like it a lot. I can feel that you paid much attention for those articles, as all of them make sense and are very useful. Buy mdma pills online

Excellent article.Really looking towards read more. Awesome.Great report post.Thanks Again. Really Great.Hey, thanks for the website post. May study on...I can not many thanks enough for the post.Really many thanks! May read on...Very educational article.Really getting excited about study more. Really Cool.
That is one great blog.Really thank you! Cool.Say, you got a wonderful blog post.Thanks Again. Actually Cool.Awesome article post. Much obliged.Awesome report post.Much thanks again. Much obliged.Bahiy Udeen

Significant thankies for the post.Really looking towards study more. Awesome.Thanks again for the blog.Really getting excited about study more. Actually Great.Thanks-a-mundo for the blog post.Thanks Again. Hold writing.Really enjoy you discussing that blog post.Really looking towards read more. Great.I price the blog article.Really thank you! Much obliged.Great report post. Hold writing.A round of applause for your post.Thanks Again. Actually Cool.Very informative article post. Will study on...Really liked this blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on... pacotes de viagem para marrocos

Looking towards reading more. Great article.Really thanks!Thank you ever so for you personally post.Really getting excited about read more.I price the article.Really many thanks! Significantly obliged.Really enjoyed this article post. Cool.Thank you for the blog.Really thank you! Fantastic.Thank you very for you post. Hold writing.I can not many thanks enough for the blog.Really many thanks! Fantastic.citizenship by investment for Canada

Its my great pleasure to visit your blog and to enjoy your great posts here. I like it a lot. I can feel that you paid much attention for those articles, as all of them make sense and are very useful.https://negociosempreendimentos.com.br/curso-de-energia-solar/

Really enjoy you discussing this website post. Really thanks! Really Cool. Thanks extremely for you personally website article. Thanks Again. Really Great. Really appreciate you discussing this post. Actually thank you! Need more.
jade scape

I price the blog article.Really many thanks! Keep writing.
Mobile bridal makeup and hair

I price the blog article.Really many thanks! Keep writing.
Mobile bridal makeup and hair

Thank you ever so for you post. Keep writing.

Thank you ever so for you post. Keep writing.

ΚΛΕΙΔΑΡΙΑ ΑΣΦΑΛΕΙΑΣ wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated. ΑΞΕΣΟΥΑΡ ΚΙΝΗΤΑ

I actually delight in the blog post. Fantastic. Thanks a lot a good deal for that blog. Is going to study on... Cheers intended for spreading; this is an effective blog post. Much thanks a lot again. Cool.
http://www.lapakbola.org

Actually informative report post.Really looking towards study more. Actually Great.Really recognize you sharing that website post.Thanks Againastic.Awesome blog article.Much thanks again. Much obliged.Naamkaran

Took me time to understand all of the comments, but I seriously enjoyed the write-up. It proved being really helpful to me and Im positive to all of the commenters right here! ΑΠΟΦΡΑΞΕΙΣ ΑΠΟΧΕΤΕΥΣΕΩΝ ΑΘΗΝΑ

Really enjoy you discussing this website post. Really thanks! Really Cool. Thanks extremely for you personally website article. Thanks Again. Really Great. Really appreciate you discussing this post. Actually thank you! Need more. fitness

This dissertation crafting is definitely terrible. Usually, I actually find themselves required to retain freelancers who seem to copy people out of. https://corpuschristi-homeinspections.com/

You might be a single extremely trustworthy website article writer. After all, generally, people reveal concerns as well as the details they feature just isn't since sensible. An individual alternatively; whatever you point out pencils out there. The advice regarding the usage of as an example has been the most effective. This web site is perfect! https://www.danielstastypetfoods.com/

Instantly the site could irrefutably get famed among the most of posting consumers, because of its diligent article content or simply critical reviews. light up shoes

Value anyone sharing, excellent content post. Great. Machos Gracias for the blog. Actually many thanks! Will certainly understand on. Good post. A lot thanks a lot again. Genuinely Great.
check this short article

Speedily this great site will certainly irrefutably always be renowned amid most writing a blog men and women, because diligent content as well as testimonials. smart iptv Subscription

wow what a great post is this... thanks for sharing boss, keep share these valuable content. make a public page

Lead Generation Services
I’m happy I located this blog! From time to time, students want to cognitive the keys of productive literary essays composing. Your first-class knowledge about this good post can become a proper basis for such people.

Getting excited about studying more. Wonderful blog. Truly eager for go through more. I cherished the post. Very much obliged. This really is one particular amazing blog site article. Seriously thank you! May examine on.
http://www.folkd.com/user/JulieC/

Eager for studying more. Fantastic blog. Genuinely getting excited about examine more. My spouse and i loved a person's post. Very much obliged. This is certainly a person brilliant site article. Definitely appreciate it! May go through on.
investment banking class

כרטיסי ביקור לעסק במחיר שלא תוכל לסרב לו! בקר כאן כעת Say, you got a nice blog post. Really thank you! Really Great.

כרטיסי ביקור לעסק במחיר שלא תוכל לסרב לו! בקר כאן כעת Say, you got a nice blog post. Really thank you! Really Great.

כרטיסי ביקור לעסק במחיר שלא תוכל לסרב לו! בקר כאן כעת Say, you got a nice blog post. Really thank you! Really Great.

כרטיסי ביקור לעסק במחיר שלא תוכל לסרב לו! בקר כאן כעת Say, you got a nice blog post. Really thank you! Really Great.

Excellent read, Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work.
Judi Slot Online

you can catch a lovely picture with yourdesert safari camera that will look nothing not as much as the post card pictures and will be a stunning memory of your time at the Desert Safari Dubai. Rise bashing is certainly going to be a standout amongst the most exciting encounters amid the desert safari as well as amid your entire time in Dubai. In the event that you pick a select Dubai desert safari bargain, then you can appreciate the hill bashing just with your family in the restrictive vehicle. morning desert safari

An individual's mates are in general raging dedicated to a good solutions at the same time these days We find so why. Buy weed Online

Value anyone sharing, excellent content post. Great. Machos Gracias for the blog. Actually many thanks! Will certainly understand on. Good post. A lot thanks a lot again. Genuinely Great.
Magento 2 seo plugin

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.. juti shop

Produce additional content for this theme you do have a fantastic notion for you to promote writters. 먹튀사이트

Thanks for sharing, this is a extraordinary blog, in reality thank you! really Great, utterly neat article post, Thanks Again, Thanks for sharing, this is a astounding blog, Fantastic.
top viral news website

As i plan to explain which i really find out more about your webblog and even As i realize it's highly important and even insightful.. www.mailorderussianbride.com

Trying to find discount furniture stores in St Louis can be a real headache. At Downtown St Louis Furniture Warehouse, we make it easy for you to find something for every room of your home. Used furniture st louis

This kind of seems totally best. Every one of these little information are manufactured together with lots of backdrop information. I prefer that a whole lot. Luxury Yacht Charters by day

Awesome post, really looking deal with to right of entry more, save writing, I essentially enjoy the post. Much thanks again, Fantastic, Thank you for your blog article, really thank you, in point of fact Great.
Friv

Many thanks intended for the blog article. Seriously looking forward to examine more. Cool. That is a single wonderful post post. Appreciate it Again. Actually Great. Good article. Truly eager for examine more. Awesome.
Prediksi skor

hop over to this site about Mastiffs This is one awesome post. Thanks Again.