Friday, July 9, 2010

Welcome to Miami!!

Dear Dan Gilbert,

You're a nightmare in Cleavland right now. Did you really just say that about King James?? It may be me, but I sense a little bitterness on the owners behalf as he failed to step up and make something happen for James in Cleavland.

Dan Gilbert, you are a PR nightmare...did you're PR practitioner tell you what NOT to say, and then you felt the need to make a complete ass out of yourself and the organization by making guarantees we all know aren't true. Your best move of the year will be to fire your media relations team and hire me...

for those of you living in a cave...Dan Gilbert on LeBron leaving Cleavland

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

In an Ideal world, Strasburg, Harper and Obama save the Gulf

Typically Major League Baseball doesn’t mean a thing until the fireworks are lit on July 4th and again at the All-Star game. I discussed in the previous blog entry that this season has been anything but normal. The 2010 MLB first year player draft is wrapping up, and the #1 pick on the 2009 draft Steven Strasburg, just made his Major League debut with the Washington Nationals. In his debut Strasburg threw 7 complete innings with 14 strikeouts and a bagel in the walk column. In the 7th inning Strasburg was clocked throwing his fastball at 99MPH and his breaking ball at 81MPH. That’s practically un-hittable. Please look past the fact that he accomplished this against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He allowed 4 hits and 2 earned runs and most importantly walked away with the win, a face full of shaving cream, and keys to the white house!!

I was fortunate enough to watch his post game interview on MLB TV and this kid demands a presence around him. He had the journalists basically eating out of his hands in the media room. It wasn't all roses in the media room, the way he drank his post game beverage was his unofficial 15th strikeout. While answering questions he was sipping on a green Gatorade. I don’t have a problem with the color or with Gatorade, but he missed an endorsement opportunity that would have resulted in millions for Strasburg, but he hid the Gatorade logo from everyone, and to make matters worse he sat the bottle on the ground instead of on the table. Gatorade just dropped Tiger Woods, and Strasburg has the potential to be the Tiger Woods of the baseball world.

Strasburg made it to the show which is a great accomplishment. But throwing a 99MPH fastball and a 81MPH breaking ball will only take you to Cooperstown, NY. He needs to look at building his personal brand image and that means endorsement opportunities. Get the money while you can!! The last thing I want is for Strasburg to turn out to be the next Kerry Wood who was a wasted draft pick in my opinion. He needs to build his personal brand, and take the money while people are throwing it him. Once the #1 pick in this years draft, Bryce Harper makes his debut, Strasburg will become a side show pitching next to the freak-show that is Harper's bat. Pitching is awesome and wins you championships, but lets face it
, chick’s still dig the long ball!!

The Washington Nationals have something special with the 2009 AND 2010 #1 draft picks, but they need to monitor Strasburg’s progress and limit his innings over the next couple years, or at least until they can develop Harper and get him ready for his debut. I want to see Strasburg, Harper and Obama meet in the oval office and figure out how to save the Gulf. All three own the city, and since it's our Nation's capitol they own the country. If the three of them can't solve the problem who will? BP? Child Please. The rate at which the oil is spilling into the gulf, I boldly predict that the Nationals will win a world series before we completely clean up the Gulf. At this rate, they'll win one before we even plug the hole...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

MLB Umpires...HOLY COW!!

Calling all optometrist in the greater Detroit area: I have found the poster boy for your next marketing campaign, but first lets deal with the fat POS pictured to the right à

What would Harry Carey be saying to describe this past month in Major League Baseball? His Cubs are struggling, but the umpires struggles trumps all. Even with the Cubs limping into the month of June, Harry Carey would be belting out his famous line “Holy Cow” to fans everywhere for the excitement that has happened so early in the baseball season.

Major League Baseball has had three perfect games within a 30 day period. Check that, two perfect games, two one-hitters and a legend deciding to call it quits after 22 years. Umpires rarely self promote, but this year has been a rare exception. Joe West called the Red Sox and Yankees “pathetic and embarrassing” due to the absurd amount of time it takes them to play a game. I guess 34 combined world series championships is now considered "pathetic and embarrassing." West also recently got into an argument with a Chicago White Sox pitcher after calling a balk and soon after anger raged with the manager Ozzie Guillen. West actively seeks out the media for attention and even as has his own publicist…yeah, you heard correctly, I said publicist. He has recently hired a public relations firm out of Tennessee to help get him in the news media. Why would a MLB umpire need to seek publicity? It turns out that West does more than just run his mouth during and after baseball games. He’s a prominent recording artist in the country music world! I use the term prominent very loosely. He has hired the PR firm to help promote his personal brand and use the recognition and publicity he gets on the diamond to help jump start his music career.

A lot of people have said that there is no such thing as bad publicity, and I think in West’s case that holds true. He really has nothing to lose. He’s been a MLB umpire since 1976, so it’s safe to say that if negative press forces him to resign, he can then focus on his music career as “Cowboy Bill.” If he left baseball it wouldn’t upset him. He was part of the group who quit in ’99 and wanted more money. MLB basically said “It doesn’t really matter who we have as umpires, our fans aren’t there to see you call balls and strikes.” After the umpires attempt for more money failed miserably West came crawling back in 2002 and has been an umpire ever since.

West’s PR firm probably instructed him to create the controversy on the diamond hoping that it would lead to expanded coverage on ESPN and other sports networks. Mission accomplished. Publicity helps with name recognition and brand reputation, but it's hard to tarnish a brand that no one knows exists, so any media generated with his name mentioned is considered gold in the industry! I would not put it past a PR firm to suggest that West participate in controversial calls on the field to generate media. It's a shady tactic that ruins the reputation of Major League Baseball and also gives other umpires like Jim Joyce around the league a bad name.

Jim Joyce became famous tonight after he missed an obvious out call in the 9th inning to prevent Armando Galarraga from throwing the third perfect game in the last 30 days and the 21st perfect game in MLB history. Joyce stepped up to the plate after the game and admitted he missed it and took responsibility for blowing the call. In his statement he truly believed he got the call right. Joyce refers to it by saying "It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the *bleep* out of it." While in tears Joyce goes on to say, "I just cost that kid a perfect game." He apologized to Galarraga and gave him a genuine hug. With a statement like that, you know he's one of the more reputable umpires in the league and also a fan of the game. He might have made a horrible call that will taint the rest of his career, but the guy showed a lot of class admitting that he altered MLB history. Joyce's intentions are pure and sincere while West just needs to take his homemade rocket to the moon (goodluck getting into it!).

By the way, The Kid decided to call it quits tonight...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Los Sun Still Sets in the West

I am personally not a fan of what’s taking place in Phoenix at U.S. Airways arena this evening. The Phoenix Suns’ players will be wearing jerseys bearing the name “Los Suns” on the front in honor of its Latino community and also in protest of Arizona’s Immigration law recently passed on April 23rd. The Phoenix Suns waited to break out the uniforms until tonight which just so happens to be Cinco de Mayo; a holiday that means little to Mexico, but a revenue generator for the United States. Can we really call tonight’s jersey choice a political protest? Not a Chance!!

If the NBA wanted to create awareness around the controversial new law, they would have chosen to make a much different statement. Phoenix along with Dallas, San Antonio, Chicago, Miami and Houston all wore similar jerseys to recognize the Latino community earlier in the season. The NBA would have had these teams wear the special Latino jerseys late in the first round, and really focused on the Suns vs. Spurs series in the second round since both teams play in high Latino populated areas. The only reason why the NBA is allowing these jerseys to be worn is simply because it's the 5th of May, better known as Cinco de Mayo here in the States. Looking to make a statement as an organization, Phoenix should continue to wear the jerseys for the remainder of the playoffs, not just for game two vs. San Antonio.

The NBA doesn't want to get involved as the popular debate continues on whether sports belong in politics. Had the NBA wanted to get involve and stand behind the Phoenix Suns they would have manufactured the “Los Suns” jerseys and partnered with an organization and donated all proceeds generated by the jerseys to a worthy cause. It didn’t happen, and the NBA is more focused on the sport and their brand rather than pushing political agendas. It will be interesting to see what uniforms the Suns wear from here on out. I’m betting that they don’t wear these jerseys again…especially if they lose!

Phoenix looked at this as an opportunity to generate publicity with the hopes of increasing ticket sales. In the first round of the playoffs against Portland, the Suns had a difficult time selling out their arena. They had to rely on same day ticket sales, and enthusiastic Blazer fans to fill their seats. I'm okay with Phoenix wearing the jerseys, but wear them in recognition of the Latino culture in the area, and use that as your marketing platform, not the controversial immigration law to fill your arena.

Tequila: It's a Party in my Mouth!!

As we gear up to celebrate Mexican/Hispanic culture and heritage here in the United States today, we need to make sure that people understand why this day is so significant. Mexico’s army defeated the French in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla. While the French have never bragged about their military presence and seem to lose every battle ever fought, it doesn't stop Americans from marketing the 5th of May as a celebration. Cinco de Mayo is a day in which we consume copious amounts of Mexican food, Corona or Dos Equis, and the much loved Tequila.

In the week prior to today, 1800Tequila has stepped its game up in the advertising world. Advertised as classy sipping tequila, they are trying to associate themselves with the upper echelon like Patron. An advantage 1800 tequila has over Patron is that it isn't referenced in horribly written hip-hop songs (this also works against them). They are a different brand from Patron, but offer a classy logo and bottle similar to Patron. In my opinion, neither brand should be able to portray Tequila as a sipping beverage.
First of all, the terms "sipping" and "tequila" are mutually exclusive; they cannot happen at the same time. If tequila actually created a party in my mouth, then why does it require two chasers; salt before and a lime after? You slam the 1.5 ounces of tequila down your throat so you can get it over with! Have you ever heard anyone order tequila on the rocks no salt no lime?

Even a classic margarita requires Triple Sec, lime juice, and sour mix along with 1.5 ounces of overpowering tequila. Most people will opt for blended flavored margaritas since they can’t taste the tequila behind the artificial flavoring of strawberries. Some continue to drink tequila for the effects it has on their body, and others drink it hoping that it leads to a party in their mouth just like nicorette gum does for Jessica Simpson.

Just because it’s physically impossible to sip tequila, doesn't mean we can’t appreciate the Washington Husky band for their rendition, and the brilliance behind the marketing campaign that is 1800Tequila. The Game will never change, but that won’t stop them from trying!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Holy Moly! That Ain't my Boy Masoli...

It was reported yesterday that Jeremiah Masoli will pitch for the Eugene Emeralds this upcoming summer to keep his arm in shape for the 2011 football season. This report came directly from the Emerald’s media relations department. It was written as a press release sent out to newspapers state wide, and even drew national media coverage. It turns out this was an April fool’s joke that missed its intended audience in Eugene.

Some will argue that this was a marketing ploy to gain exposure to the Emeralds who will be playing their games at the University of Oregon’s new PK Park. The Emeralds' Media Relations director Onalee Carson wanted to get the media’s attention, but when asked if it was legit story, she flat out lied to reporters. Had Carson been honest about it, I’m sure a few reporters would have taken the bate and ran with the story. Eugene isn’t a very big market, but the community still supports the University and the Emeralds.

A key principle in marketing is to promote your Image in a positive light, and using Jeremiah Masoli does not accomplish that. You DO NOT take an amateur athlete who has gone from riches to rags in a matter of months at the expense of two laptop computers to promote a professional product. His image has been severely damaged, and to use someone like that to promote a minor league baseball team was in poor taste to say the least; not to mention the University of Oregon Athletic Department who is trying to put the winter events to rest; all this did was help stir the pot.

As a media relations director you are responsible for building meaningful and truthful relationships with journalists and your job is to present the organization in a positive light. You must protect the brand image that you represent, and defend it when it has been tarnished. This little stunt will affect the credibility of the Emerald’s public relations team in the short term, but the truth of the matter is they don’t even start playing baseball until the middle of June. This will all blow over given time. I’m all about practical jokes, but you need to make sure they are tastefully constructed and executed. You do not want Masoli throwing out the first pitch at a game. That adds nothing to the brand image or organization, and would probably result in fewer ticket sales. Parents don’t want to take their little leaguers to get an autograph from thief.

What Carson and the Emeralds' should have done: She should have contacted one columnist at the Register Guard; Ron Bellamy who is loved by most in the Eugene area would have been a perfect candidate. They should have used another Oregon athlete. One who actually played minor league baseball, and raised expectations for the football department…That’s right, I’m talking about ACL boy, Dennis Dixon. They should have contacted Dixon to make sure he was okay with being a pat of the hoax. Bellamy would have then published the article in Yesterday’s sports section, and written it in such a way that would excite Duck fans about Dixon’s return to Eugene, promote the Emeralds upcoming season, and end the column by saying “April Fools!” This allows the Emeralds to pursue Dixon in making a public appearance to throw out the first pitch in a game during the season. This would result in increased revenue for the Emeralds who are renting PK Park from the University to play their home games.

The scenario I just proposed still would have created the buzz in and around the newsroom. Local television stations still would have ran the story (let’s face it, this story would have been more interesting than an Easter Bunny sighting at VRC). No one’s credibility would be in jeopardy, and it would allow Dixon to comment on the practical joke, discuss his NFL career, and the Oregon football program as they look to rebuild their image. This would have been a great way to promote both brands, when both organizations have had off seasons filled with turmoil. This had potential to be a great joke, but it failed miserably. I’m going to end with the last stanza of the poem written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, “Casey at Bat” that relates Eugene to Mudville:

"Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The University of Oregon football team will return to prominence

If I told you that I could take the University of Oregon and their football team’s image from complete THUGS and turn them into perfect little angels who hoist a BCS championship trophy above their heads with green and yellow confetti floating everywhere in under a year, is that something you might be interested in? I’m sure it would violate NCAA rules to actually sell that script to Hollywood, but it still won’t stop ESPN from creating a movie that will be replayed 692 times on all five of their networks. If this were USC, they could sell the script to Hollywood since half those guys are paid to play!

It is without question that the University of Oregon and their football team is in crisis mode after numerous off field troubles. The latest victim, Jamere Holland, just found out that social media (facebook) can cost you an opportunity to receive a D-1 scholarship to play football, and obtain a degree for the University of Oregon. We can go ahead and throw a $50,000 price tag on the education, and possibly millions more are swirling down the drain in potential NFL contracts if he doesn’t find his way back to the field soon. Word to the wise: don't be idiots, go check your privacy settings on all your social networking sites.

These kids are out of control. I would call them adults, but due to their inability to act like adults, I think we should stick with referring to them as kids for now. The university needs to take action to preserve, and restore the integrity of the institution, athletic department, and football program. Don’t worry Duck fans, I have everything figured out! The answer lies in the spring 2010 academic calendar. This proposal will apply to all collegiate athletes at the University of Oregon; NOT just the football players. This plan will turn the ducks back into the primadonnas that we are.

During the athlete’s non-competitive season, they will be required to register for at least one credit of independent study requiring them to spend 30 hours volunteering somewhere within the Eugene/Springfield area during that particular quarter. You hold a press conference with UO President Richard Lariviere, Athletic Director Mike Bellotti, and Head Football Coach Chip Kelly. Kelly will be the one to take the proposal to Bellotti for approval. This program allows student athletes to give back to the community, and to those who are less fortunate. I see this as a mentoring program for youth that will help build relationships, and will help restore the brand image of what the university stands for. The personal growth and development of these student athletes will experience working with troubled youth, is something that cannot be learned on the athletic fields or courts. This is a perfect opportunity to develop a partnership with Serbu Youth Detention Facility for troubled youth in the community. This facility resides directly across the street from Autzen Stadium, and I think it’s time to start seeing the potential for a relationship between the detention center and the university athletic department.

Phil Knight believes that there is no such thing as bad press, and a lot of people will disagree with that statement. What people fail to understand is that the negative publicity allows for an opportunity to evaluate the situation, address it to the media, and then take the necessary steps to correct those problems. Once you have taken those corrective steps, you then invite the media back to showcase the university’s progress, and use it as a platform to promote the new program. Once graduation rates increase due to the implementation of Coach Kelly’s program, other institutions will follow and adopt something similar.

This will also ensure John Canzano’s absence from Oregon, as he has never written anything positive about the institution. I’m guessing Canzano failed to get in to the school of journalism at Oregon, and had to settle for a degree from Douche- Bag-U…Quack Quack, Go Ducks!!