Big Green Men: Making something from nothing
For me, it’s the ability to create something from nothing that makes good advertising truly special. Scratch away the sheen of commercials and the shine of packaging that exemplifies most consumer items and all you’re left with is fizzy water, circuit boards and fabric underwear.
Without the swish graphics there’d be no Coca-Cola. Without the cult-like behavioral techniques utilized by Steve Jobs there’d be no Apple. And without the dangerously-close-but-not-quite--pedophilia photo shoots, Calvin Klein would be selling pants out of a car trunk in the Garment District. Heck, without the round-the-clock implausible denials, ridiculous interviews and seamy sub-text Anthony Wiener would be little more than some schmuck congressman from New York instead of the poster-boy for bad judgement. Advertising works wonders when it comes to taking nothing and making it something. That’s why I love the Green Men.
Now, let’s skip the fact that I am a long-disgruntled ex-Canuck fan who still secretly cheers for those boobs to win a Cup. Forget that as a fan I’ve been hurt far too many times to openly admit my feelings for the team out of fear of further disappointment and humiliation. Forget it all. You see, I’m a fan of the Green Men and it has nothing to do with the Vancouver Canucks. It’s because they have made something from nothing.
Starting with a character from the cult TV show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and his weird need to dress up in a skin-tight green suit for Eagles games, two Vancouver dudes took it upon themselves to source, and evidently acquire, similarly snug green suits. They then added nerve (to wear the darn things) plus opportunity (good seats) where they commenced incessant fluorescent harassment of the opposing players banished to the penalty box near them. It didn’t take long for their out-of-the-box antics (and look) to attract attention. They became semi-stars and actual commodities. All their TV time (thanks in large part to NHL games broadcast on CBC) spawned a website and a business. The Green Men sell stuff. T-shirts, shorts and other assorted items along with further promotion of their “Green Men” brand. Will it last? Who knows? But as long as the Canucks keep winning, their opportunities should increase. Who could hate that?
The CBC, that’s who. Canada’s official broadcasting company (or at least a pretty good portion of their on-air personalities) have carped and moaned about the Green Men almost since inception. Alternately the Green Men are a distraction, a disgrace, a prank that needs to end, whatever. They hate them and now they even appear to work at ensuring they no longer appear (even by accident) on official NHL broadcasts – effectively pinching off the sort of mass-market oxygen any good start-up business needs. Now it’s one thing when a private company declines to play along but this is the CBC – Canada’s national broadcaster. It’s actually in their mandate to tell Canada’s stories. So why in big-bottomed beaver pelts are they being so flipping hostile to a pair of harmless doofs in contrasting green suits?
To know that the institution charged with uniting my country feels just as strongly about protecting me from the supposed idiocy of two of my fellow Canadians as they do about protecting me from genuinely differing points of view is typical. Leave it to a bloated government outfit to misunderstand the nature of their role in society.
It’s almost comical to consider but if the Green Men really wanted the blessing of the CBC all they would have had to do is abandon the hockey arena and organize a performance art show in some approved gallery. There they could simulate the forced sodomization of one another, thereby drawing attention to the metaphorical rape of planet Earth as she is victimized over and over by clueless, and cleverly faceless, climate-change deniers. Or something like that – my own application for a grant hasn’t been reviewed in full yet. Anyway, why be hatin’ on The Force and Sully for turning extreme fandom into a business opportunity?
No matter how stupid or inane something might actually be I will always have a soft spot when it creates something from nothing. Before the Green Men there was nothing in that particular zip code of Canuck consciousness. With the duo’s arrival, no business was displaced and no personality was diminished. Green rose from nothing. Where will they go? What will they do? Honestly, I have no idea but in the purposely mangled words of another fairly polarizing original “Long may you run, Vancouver Green Men, long may you run.”