One of the few good things about being laid up at home recovering from spinal surgery is that I've gotten the chance to watch the Tour de France every day on the Outdoor Life Network. (Go Lance!) Of course the coverage is peppered with commercials from companies sponsoring the teams. One that made me do a double-take? Bissell. Yes, the vacuum cleaner company. They are one of the sponsors of Lance Armstrong's Discovery team. Why?
Well, according to their site:
"The bikes used by cycling teams during their racing season are the most technologically advanced cycles in the world. From the strong, lightweight carbon frame to the 10-speed drive train, these machines have allowed the team to "sweep-up" the competition. But don't believe for a second the team has stopped striving to get better. Constant testing and tweaking are necessary if the team wants to stave-off the competition and stay on top.
Following that same line of thinking, BISSELL continues to create new and innovative cleaning machines to help you in your home. The BISSELL Lift-Off Vacuum with a detachable canister is the one vacuum for all your cleaning needs. The BISSELL Flip-It is a hard floor cleaner that easily "flips" sides for wet or dry cleaning! Always trying to meet your needs and help make cleaning easier, BISSELL innovation is second to none when it comes to cleaning your home!"
That is not very convincing marketing copy. It seems like a big stretch to me that Bissell sponsors professional cycling. In fact, it feels like an enormous leap. If I'm not mistaken, followers of pro cycling are predominantly young, affluent males. Now I don't know what the demographics of vacuum cleaner buyers are, since I absolutely REFUSE to buy one of those market reports sold for outrageous prices online, but I'm guessing we're talking mainly middle to upper-middle class women in their late 20s, 30s and 40s. So the audience doesn't match. And their most recognized product, a vacuum, is used indoors. Also, vacuuming doesn't have much to do with fitness, unless you're one of those people who counts the calories expended on every household chore as a way to convince yourself you're actually exercising.
Is it possible that I'm way off? I'm wondering if the president of Bissell happens to be a cycling fan. Whenever I see a sponsorship that seems very strange related to the brand doing the sponsoring, it usually turns out to be some hobby of management. Given how few people even follow professional cycling, and that an even smaller percentage of those match the vacuum buying demographic, I don't understand why Bissell would invest a lot of money in the team sponsorship and the advertising. Maybe I'm missing something.
By the way, I love pro cycling. And we use an Oreck.