In Columbus, Ohio this weekend the Arnold Classic Sports Festival (or Arnold Classic Weekend or just plain Arnold Classic) will take place. I have been going to this show every year since 1997. It has changed quite a bit over the years. This used to be just a bodybuilding show and fitness expo, but now it has about 40 different sporting events ranging from girl’s cheerleading to Jiu Jitsu. There are a lot of kid’s events going on so it has become a “family” event to some extent. This sort of clashes with the traditional image of the Arnold Classic as a freak show of muscle heads and sexual debauchery. In years past you would find she-male looking women walking around half naked, and more feminine girls wearing nothing but spray paint. One year there was a 10 foot inflatable syringe floating over one particular company’s booth (in those days everyone compared their muscle building supplements to steroids, so this was just part of the game)
Well the Arnold Classic directors have changed things quite a bit. Partly of course because of the new “family friendly” theme they have going on, and also because of the political inconvenience all the drug and sexual content has given the shows namesake (the ex-governator).
To give you an idea on how they are cracking down on the expo’s licentious excesses, I will quote for you a few lines from their “special notice” to the companies who are renting booth space.
- THE ARNOLD SPORTS FESTIVAL DOES NOT ALLOW LITERATURE OR PRODUCTS THAT MAKE REFERENCE TO STERIODS OR ENHANCEMENT ABILITY THAT IS RELATED TO ANY ILLEGAL SUBSTANCE.
(Comment: This destroys the marketing strategies of over half the companies out there. I foresee many unimaginative marketing guys biting their nails and walking in circles over this one)
- NO REFERENCES MAY BE MADE ABOUT ENHANCEMENT OF SEXUAL PLEASURE, ENDURANCE OR ANY PRODUCT MARKETED AS APHRODISIACS.
(Comment: Sounds like some guys are just gonna have to stay home – that is, if aphrodisiac or sexual enhancement products are what they sell. I don’t know about the logic behind this one to be honest. Its not as if every kid on isn’t already exposed to endless Viagra and Cialis commercials on TV.)
- NO CATALOGS OR PRODUCTS MAY BE DISTRIBUTED THAT REFLECT ITEMS THAT ARE NOT LEGAL FOR SALE TO INDIVIDUALS UNDER THE AGE OF 18 IN THE UNITED STATES AND MUST FOLLOW THE LAWS AS SET FORTH BY THE STATE OF OHIO
(Comment: I am scratching my head on this one. Are they talking about tobacoo…..alcohol? I can’t think of a single nutritional supplement product that is explicitly illegal to sell to anyone under the age of 18. Now I can think of many that are illegal to sell to anyone of any age, but that never bothered the Arnold Classic Expo organizers in the past. So I guess it really is just all about the kids with them)
- BOOTH WORKERS WITH INAPPROPRIATE ATTIRE MAY BE ESCORTED OUT OF THE EXHIBIT HALL FOR THE DURATION OF THE EXPO
(Comment: This can result in one of two things. Either they will not enforce this commandment seriously or there will be a mass exodus of girls, and masses of flesh that vaguely resemble girls, from the expo floor on Friday)
- NO STANDING OR SOLICITING OUTSIDE OF YOUR BOOTH SPACE OR THROUGHOUT THE EXPO HALL. ABSOLUTELY NO STANDING ON TABLES OR CHAIRS
(Comment: Thank you. A rule I can agree with. It’s hard enough to get around that place on a Saturday without someone trying to shove a flyer in your face. It was getting to be like running the gauntlet of Mexicans with the porno cards on the Vegas Strip in there)
- ABSOLUTELY NO THROWING OR TOSSING OF ANY ITEM INTO THE CROWDS.
(Comment: Another rule I give a thumb’s up to. This has always been one of the more annoying aspects of the show. However, I must admit it is fun to throw stuff at people and watch them act like complete idiots)
- YOU MUST PURCHASE ENOUGH EXHIBIT SPACE TO CONTAIN THE CROWDS WITHIN YOUR BOOTH IF YOUR COMPANY IS CONSIDERING HOSTING A CELEBRITY OR GROUP OF CELEBRITIES. LINES FOR AUTOGRAPHS, PICTURES, HANDOUTS OR GATHERING OF ATTENDEE’S PERSONAL INFORMATION CANNOT BLOCK THE WALKWAYS OR OTHER EXHIBIT BOOTHS.
(Comment: I can’t see this rule being enforceable. People will form a line to wait for an autograph or to shake hands if the booth has a celebrity of interest to the masses. To yell at them and to tell them to go away is ridiculous – why have a celebrity there in the first place?)
This year should definitely be interesting. I am curious to see how this kinder and gentler Arnold festival will play out. My company E-Pharm will have a booth this year (booth #107) so if you attend the expo please stop by and say hello.