Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sleepless in Syracuse

My friend Mikey was scheduled to have this published in The Daily Orange, but for whatever reason the Opinions editor decided against it.

A damn shame, because it's a great piece. Therefore, I've taken upon myself to let the man talk. Well, write.

Sleepless in Syracuse

I’m surrounded by darkness. All I can see are the dark silhouettes of a heavyset man and his thin companion. I do not recognize them but the vibrations they emit trouble me. Suddenly I hear a voice. “Hi folks, Tom Park here and I’m with Billy Fuccillo.”

I wake up in a cold sweat screaming. “Thank God,” I think to myself, “it was only a dream.” But then a menacing thought crosses my mind, much more troubling than the nightmare itself, “Billy Fuccillo was in my dreams.”

Fuccillo, a 1978 SU graduate and former football star is the undisputed king of local advertising. He also sells cars; about 40,000 in 2004 according to an interview he gave the Central New York Business Journal.

I am deeply disturbed, no… haunted, by the frequency of Fuccillo’s ads; but, his strategy Amy Falkner, associate dean for academic affairs and an advertising professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, described as “beating you over the head with an ad every 10 seconds,” works.

“Everybody knows who he [Fuccillo] is,” explained Professor Falkner. Fuccillo’s fixation on reach — exposing as many people to his message as possible — and frequency — exposing people to his message as many times as possible — has made escaping his media dragnet a futile endeavor. The CNY Business Journal dubbed this phenomenon the “Fuccillo Effect.”

“He’s doing it [advertising] over and over and over so when you are in the market to buy a car the first name that comes forward is Billy Fuccillo,” Professor Falkner reasoned.

But I fear the “Fuccillo Effect” is doing much more. On August 3, 2007, the Albany Times Union posted “What landmark(s) would you consider for a contest selecting seven wonders of the Capital Region?” on its website.

Despite the seemingly insurmountable handicap that he is not a landmark, Billy Fuccillo received 8% of the vote, easily surpassing South Glen Falls’ Cooper’s Cave, and nearly defeating the State Museum.

The first page of a Google search [conducted on 9/20/07] of Billy Fuccillo yields: one link to the, three CNY Business Journal articles, Fuccillo’s MySpace Page [not real], an old Fuccillo commercial in which he shouts about Hyundais from the heavens, one blog entitled “Billy Fuccillo: Still a Huge Tool,” a DO article, and a blog in the “Commercials I Hate Forum”. Of these, the only link of use to someone in the market to buy a car is

His strategy of hegemonic media saturation is too powerful; Billy’s name is apt to appear in people’s minds at anytime, not just when they are in the market for a car.

While it has helped Billy sell thousands of cars, the “Fuccillo Effect” has also led hundreds of Central New Yorkers believe Billy Fuccillo is a landmark and given me nightmares. The “Fuccillo Effect” must be kept in check.

In 2004, former DO contributor Jake Goldman challenged Fuccillo to a high stakes race around the world [winner takes the Fuccillo Automotive Group]. The race never took place but I applaud Goldman’s moxie and fortitude. At least he can say he tried to end this madness!

- Mike Zahler

1 comment:

Jake-Up said...

great article.

It is a shame I never got to race him 'round the world.