Friday, February 27, 2015

Cleveland Gets Taken For A Branding Ride

Vive Le Difference
I've spent my life in advertising. Mostly direct, but with a fair amount of branding work. And as this is a very soft science, the first rule is that you are better off not flying off half-cocked about someone's brand decisions. It's their baby, not yours, and if the baby is ugly, you aren't going to win a lot of friends or influence a lot of people by telling the parents that they should give their kid some sticks and weapons in the cradle, to prepare them for future professional opportunities. It's not that your kid is ugly; it's that they could be making better apparel choices. Etc.

And then there's what the Browns did and paid for, which is go to an NFL fan base and tell them that a slightly different color in their field of non-logo WTFery, and a font difference that matters only to the .1% of the populace who truly care about fonts... is meaningful and significant, and clearly something that requires new merch. Head on over to the store and get yours today, kids, before we go to the next Pantone color.

This is, in a nutshell, why people hate advertising and design professionals. And probably should. Because someone made real bank for the process involved and above. Someone worked through months (at least) of committee meetings, many other storyboards with many other possibilities, and probably much better work that was thrown out the window because it was too much from what they already have.

And then, when they finally all got to the point above, with the side work of a different look for the Dawg Pound (and, honestly, who would care?)... rather than just say, well, screw it, it's not worth the change... they pulled the trigger anyway. Mostly because they know that it will help sell more gear.

In the early days of the blog (and yes, the blog has had early days), we used to mock the idea of alternate jerseys, throwback jerseys, and how every team would eventually get to a new shirt every week. And like many moments of satire or parody, there was probably more truth to that work than the actual truth.

I fully expect some team, at some point, to change shirts at halftime, maybe to break the luck or because they wore black and it's hot out. Or for teams to have one outfit for the sidelines, and a lower one underneath, with tearaways like you get in the NBA. And for each club to wind up having a closet of options, all the better to hide the encroaching presence of ads.

Design is cheap.

Ownership is venal; they will do everything they can to get the spend to rise.

And for the folks who just have to look like athletes, more options will mean more spend, because those people are just there for the taking...

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