Fathers don’t fit into NBC’s ad-driven ‘Thanks Mom’ Olympics coverage

I can be a little bit slow in matters of TV but by the 11th or 12th time NBC’s announcers referred to the “BMW-built” American bobsled last night, even I could figure out the sweetheart deal that must exist somewhere between BMW and NBC TV. The commercial interruptions of coverage for a BMW ad further sealed the conclusion.

BMW is using the Olympics to trot out a new model. It’s also the only foreign car maker that is advertising during the Olympics in Sochi.

It’s fine for NBC to make money, but the step toward adjusting “coverage” to benefit advertisers is a path that’s risky.

Too late.

As secretly shameless as the BMW connection is, NBC’s coverage of “the moms” has been an out-in-the-open payoff. Proctor and Gamble is paying millions for its “Thanks, Mom” campaign, and accompanying commercials on NBC during the Olympics.

So it’s not entirely surprising that NBC has given extensive coverage to Jacqui White and Cheryl Davis, the mothers of the U.S. Olympic gold medalists in ice dancing. Where are the fathers? One is back home in Michigan; he gets too nervous to watch his kid skate. The other apparently is in Sochi, but guys don’t buy P&G products.

Writing on the Boston Globe website, blogger Jeff Seidel has had enough:

Fatherhood as a whole is fairly nonexistent in Sochi, at least among member of the USA Olympic team. Watching NBC, you might think every member of Team USA came to be as the result an Immaculate Conception, or nameless sperm donor, and was raised exclusively by a single mom.

NBC and its commercial partner Proctor and Gamble has been bombarding us with one spot/featurette after another about how “Mom” was the lone and sole driving force for getting little Tommy or Tiffany to the Olympics.

When she stopped by NBC’s Today show this week, Tina Oshie, the mother of Warroad transplant T.J. Oshie, was called “the real star of the Olympics” by the NBC crew.

“The way he carried himself since that game is such a tribute to you,” Willie Geist, one of the announcers, said. “The first thing out of his mouth was ‘it’s the goalie,’ it’s someone else, it’s about the team. He’s incredibly humble and unselfish. Obviously, he’s got a great mom.”

“And his father had something to do with that, too,” Tina Oshie replied quickly.

Thanks, mom.