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Did Purdue run the dumbest ad in television history? An investigation

Amelia Earhart in the Cockpit of an Airplane

During Thursday’s men’s basketball game between Purdue and Indiana, which drew nearly one million viewers, Purdue aired an ad proclaiming that the state of Indiana was “their state”. I won’t dignify the ad by linking it here and I actually couldn’t even find it on YouTube, so they may have deleted it. It wouldn’t be the first time they thought better of a post, as you can see from this screenshot Luke (one of our new writers) grabbed on the CQ Twitter:

To Purdue’s credit, maybe they knew the Boilermakers would be the heavy favorite in Thursday’s matchup in Assembly Hall, and they may have even known that Mackenzie Holmes and Nicole Cardaño-Hillary would be out for Sunday’s game at Mackey Arena when they bought the advertising space for this “our state” commercial.

On the other hand, Purdue should have known better. On principle, I refuse to begin drafting any postgame write-up until the game is over, lest I be the one to jinx a Hoosier victory. There are practical benefits too; take the Wisconsin game, for example, when Indiana seemed primed to end its losing streak at the Kohl Center until about the two-minute mark in the second half. Any story draft written before those final two minutes was completely obsolete by the time the game was over, so there would have been no advantage to getting a head start on it.

During its advertising spot on what ended up being the most watched college basketball game in FS1 history, Purdue tried to tell the story that the state of Indiana was “theirs”. Here’s what has happened between Indiana and Purdue since Purdue decided to run that ad:

  • Sunday night, Indiana women’s basketball won an overtime thriller at Purdue, with both Mackenzie Holmes and Nicole Cardaño-Hillary out of the lineup. Indiana has now held the Barn Burner trophy for the last six matchups in the rivalry game.
  • Thursday night, Indiana men’s basketball beat Purdue for the first time since 2016, ending a nine-game winning streak for the Boilermakers. Like the women’s team, Indiana missed significant minutes from its best player, as Trayce Jackson-Davis played just six minutes due to foul trouble.
  • Saturday, Indiana men’s and women’s swim and dive teams had senior night meets against Purdue. The Hoosiers won both meets by a combined score of 338-240. The men’s team has now won 14 straight dual meets against Purdue.

Whether this was just a bad investment, making this claim before being very publicly Owned, or Purdue actually jinxed itself is up to your interpretation. Objectively speaking, Purdue spent a lot of money for an advertisement that had aged poorly before it ever even aired. The fact that it may have also cursed Purdue’s athletic programs moves it from just embarrassing to actively bad though, up there with the Spaghetti-O’s Peal Harbor post, or more recently, the Milwaukee Bucks bizarre post that appeared to condone Grayson Allen’s dirty play against the Bulls.

As the men’s basketball loss at Rutger’s earlier this season demonstrates, anytime Purdue tries to step outside of the role of the other Big Ten school in Indiana, it fails miserably. Just before that game, Purdue fans flooded the Twitter mentions to dunk on Indiana’s collapse in the Kohl Center. If Indiana can now establish and extend some winning streaks in the wake of that commercial, the “our state” ad could turn out to be one of the best Boilermaker self-owns of all time.