Friday, August 24, 2012

The Broadcom Transforming Cloud Connectivity Post

So the Awesome family received awesome news last week. AYD has progressed into the semi-finals of the Broadcom MASTERS national science fair for middle school (6th, 7th, and 8th grade) students. The finalists will be announced this coming Wednesday, and all AYD has to do for this phase of the competition is wait.

AYD’s project was a combination of terrific idea and excellent execution. I was fairly confident that she would make it to the semi-finals, but I’m not so sure about the finals. The project is good enough, but she filled out all the questions on the entry form the way an 8th grader would. When she asked me to go over her answers for glaring errors in spelling and punctuation I wanted to re-write everything.

I must admit to trying to influence her style by asking leading questions like: “are you sure that is the best way to say that?” To which I received a very unsatisfying version of: “yes it is”.

The word MASTERS in the title of this competition is a slightly tortured acronym. It stands for: “Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars”. This suggests that the whole competition is about the future, and it probably is, but not so much for us. For us it is more about how incredible it was that AYD was able to get motivated to do something original and demanding that was not on the stiflingly short list of things approved as “cool” by the American Advertising Control System.

For my readers from countries other than the USA “Broadcom MASTERS” may appear to be a strange name for the National science fair for middle school students in the US, and not just for the transparent love for acronyms. Broadcom is a corporation. Why doesn’t the national science fair for middle school students have a name like: “The National Science Fair for Middle School Students” or, if we must keep the acronym: “MASTERS, The National Science Fair”. Using a corporate sponsor’s name in the title may appear strangely commercial to many outside the US.

Personally I wonder why we don’t go a bit further. Why not give a short tagline in the title?

In 2006 Delta Airlines gave up sponsorship of a major sports stadium in downtown Salt Lake City. The name changed from “The Delta Center” to “The Energy Solutions Arena”. Energy Solutions is a low-level nuclear waste disposal company; many of you might not be familiar with this company as they are headquartered in Salt Lake, and handle stuff most households don’t produce in large quantities. Maybe they could have put a little jingle in the name? Something like: “The Energy Solutions –if it’s cold let it mold, but if it glows let it go- Arena”?

The naming sponsorship agreement for the delta center comes up for renewal in less than a decade. By adding more enticing advertising into the name it may be possible to drum up more competition for the naming rights. Let me make some suggestions:

The Kraft Foods Makers of Velveeta Center
The Southwest Airlines Low Fares Starting at $69 Arena
The Toyota’s New Corolla Gets 34 MPG Highway Center
The Monsanto –Improving Agriculture- Monsanto –Improving Lives- Arena
The Autozone like us on FaceBook Arena

And there is more where these came from.

Not all national competitions for kids are named for their corporate sponsors. There is a national bible bee called: “The National Bible Bee”. However, when you get into the scholastic corporate sponsorship creeps into the name. The national spelling bee which is usually called: “National Spelling Bee” is actually “The Scripps National Spelling Bee”.

Corporate sponsorship is required to make programs like the Broadcom MASTERS work in the USA, and I personally appreciate the efforts and attention that corporations pay to the structure of America's society.  However, the need for private corporate sponsorship reveals a level of perversion in our public priorities. 

Perhaps I should get corporate sponsorship for this blog?