Google's YouTube World Series ad annoys more than enchants

Commentary: If you watched Game 1, you likely saw the ad right behind the batter's box. Love it? Or not quite?

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Oh, how clever. Or not.

screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The important stuff first. 

I really want the Houston Astros to win. 

But I found it a little harder to focus on that fact during Monday's World Series Game 1 against the tawdry Los Angeles Dodgers (Disclosure: San Francisco Giants fan).

For no-doubt joyous reasons, Google wanted to make me feel as if I was watching the game on YouTube.

I knew I wasn't. Baseball is one of America's greatest joys. It absorbs me. It demands a big screen, announcers who grate and a complete focus on the game and the players' faces -- which Fox mostly does very well.

I don't want to fiddle with some other way of watching. I just turn on my cable TV and there it is. Yes, I have quaint traditions.

Yet last night, there was a YouTubeTV ad right behind home plate. This may sound normal. Except for the fact that the YouTube play button had been expertly positioned right in the middle of the screen. 

When you're actually watching online, once you press "play," that button disappears. Yet there it was, unmoving. And moving me to uttering expressive words of discomfort.

There are some who believe that great advertising is all about distracting the viewer toward your product. I don't believe, however, that it's about annoying you into loving that product.

And so the comments flowed on Twitter. This from SB Nation's baseball writer Whitney McIntosh, for example: "Please raise your hand if you have ever felt personally victimised by the YouTube logo behind home plate at the World Series."

Others were of similarly angry mind. 

Of course, it brought out the mischievous too.

Some, however -- one Houston Astros fan, for example -- found it the most welcome thing about a game her team lost.

I contacted Google to ask what sort of reactions it had received and whether it will be repeating the annoyance during Game 2 on Wednesday. I will update, should the company pitch me a comment.

This wasn't the only component of YouTubeTV advertising on Tuesday. 

The service is, after all, the presenting sponsor of the World Series." Which may present some with a chance to say: "Must we?"

Just before the first pitch, Google slid the live action from the announcers into a long ad for the service.

YouTubeTV is Google's answer to, well, every other paid streaming service. 

The idea is to stream live and on-demand TV for around $35 a month. 

This may, indeed, be the future and I'll be delighted if it has all the channels I adore and saves me money. 

For now, however, I have a dim view of the thing. And during the World Series, I'd prefer if it could remain a touch more discreet.

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