Category Archives: Trends

A fishy venture

by Maria Sanders, editor

For baseball fans, especially those in Florida, 11/11/11 wasn’t just a crazy day where all the digits in the date were the same. It was the day the Florida Marlins became the Miami Marlins.

Since the team’s beginnings in 1993, the Marlins have never become a National League powerhouse. And despite winning two World Series titles, the Marlins have never gained strong attendance numbers either. The organization had the third lowest attendance numbers in the MLB for the 2011 season, with an average of 19,000 fans per game, according to an espn.com article.

Rumors existed for some time concerning relocating the team. On that magic day in November, those rumors proved to be true, well at least a little bit.

The Marlins, while remaining in Miami, are relocating to a new stadium in the Little Havana neighborhood, with a new name and image.

“Mr. Jeffrey Loria, Owner of the Miami Marlins, along with Marlin players, invited dignitaries, and international Latin Hip Hop star Pitbull, addressed the crowd from a 1,600 square foot stage engineered and built out over the third base dugout and extended over the newly installed infield box seats,” according to a Media Stage news release published on prnewswire.com.

The rebrand announcement signals a new era of Marlins baseball.

Getting the look
Gray and teal have been the signature Marlins’ colors from the beginning. But with the rebrand, the team’s new logo showcases a slew of Miami-esque colors.

“We are the red-orange of the breathtaking Miami sunsets and the citrus industry; the blue of the sky and the sea; and the yellow of the beautiful Miami sunshine,” Jeff Loria, Marlins owner said.

The bright colors of the new logo represent the audience the team is trying to attract.

A research poll by the Sun Sentinel, a South Florida newspaper, found 59 percent of respondents disliked the new uniform. But feedback overall has been positive.

“The logo is really intense. The colors are pretty cool,” said David Arteaga, of Miami. “It’s South Beach colors. It does actually represent us pretty well.”

To view the old and new logo click here.

A true investment
A team known for being cheap is showing they are moving toward being anything but.

Websites like Bleacher Report, Yahoo Sports and MLB Trade Rumors have reported the Marlins are offering the 31-year-old Albert Pujols somewhere in the ballpark of $225 million for nine years of play.

Pujols is one of the hottest free agents this offseason. He was the first baseman for 2011 World Series champs, the St. Louis Cardinals. He’s also the new Mr. October after becoming the only player in MLB history to hit three home runs in one World Series game.

In the same game he also went 5-5 with six RBIs and 14 bases. But who’s counting, right?

Pujols won’t be a cheap commodity, and the Marlins are a front-runner in the quest to sign him.

According to James Bondman’s Bleacher Report article, if Pujols accepts the offer, it will make him the highest-paid Marlins player. Pujols’ deal will exceed Marlins’ current highest-paid player, shortstop Hanley Ramirez, by $155 million. It will also make him the highest-paid player in all of major league baseball, taking the title away from Yankees third basemen Alex Rodriguez.
They’ve given up promising prospects to pay millions to one of the most colorful managers in the league — Ozzie Guillen.

But why would they trade a handful of talented guys for just one manager? Dan Le Batard gave his two cents in his article, “Miami Marlins’ expensive experiment: Will MLB work here?”

“Because it gives them a famous Latin face . . .,” Batard said. “And it gives them the kind of buzz and momentum and credibility they are looking to build, piece by piece.”

There’s a line in the movie “Moneyball” that seems to fit this scenario well.

In the movie, the character Billy Bean, played by Brad Pitt, said, “If we try to play like the Yankees in here, we will lose to the Yankees out there.”

Pitt’s character was referring to the Oakland A’s attempt to spend as much on players as the Yankees so famously do.

The Marlins are taking a huge gamble here, especially financially, and only time will tell if a team really can try to spend like the Yankees and win.

Effects
Some may think, as it is often touted in these types of scenarios, that a brand new stadium with a reinvented Marlins team would enrich the Miami economy.

However, according to Tom Griffin’s article “Only a Game: Economic Impact of Pro Sports,” professional sports only make up one-tenth of a percent of the city’s economy for which they are located.

One-tenth of a percent is so marginal, it’s hard to imagine Marlins owners and executives would be using an economic angle to sell the new and improved Marlins organization.

The effect may be greater on the intangibles of the community. And it appears this is the effect the Marlins are in fact looking for.

A new direction
Lou Gehrig once said, “There is no room in baseball for discrimination. It is our national pastime and a game for all.”

For 18 years, the Marlins have been located in Miami, a city with a significant Hispanic population. And for those 18 years, the Marlins have failed to engage that Hispanic audience directly.

This rebrand represents not only a new logo or new stadium, but also a redirection of communication on the Marlins’ part.

Instead of trying to be Florida’s team, the Marlins want to be Miami’s team.

“It is not a coincidence that, in introducing their new uniforms, their new look, the new Miami Marlins did so with Emilio Estefan and Pitbull, old Miami and new Miami merging to be very, very Miami,” Batard said.

Everything about this new Marlins team is aimed at gaining the support of the Hispanic market in Miami — the manager, Ozzie Guillen; the free agents being pursued, Pujols and Jose Reyes; the city-specific team name. It all screams, “We want you, Miami!”

Taking the risk
The game of baseball is full of risks.

Attempting the hit and run, having your fielder play in or trying to stretch a double into a triple all have their own potential dangers.

However, if it works — if both players get on base, the bunt is fielded or the extra base is reached — the juice was worth the squeeze.

The Marlins are taking such a gamble. But just like in the game, a risk can be worth it in the end.

Will the fishy venture work out?

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National Competitors: Behind the scenes or over the line?

by Megan Reichenbach, editor

We all have those products that are a go-to while doing our usual weekly grocery run. For me, I immediately pick up the Kashi cereal over Special K, Diet Coke rather than Diet Pepsi and Tide cleaning products over the generic Publix brand.

We all develop a loyalty to preferred brands, leaving those companies to thrive because we are immediately drawn away from their competitors.

But, this does not mean that those competitors impacted by our purchases are not finding ways for loyal buyers to divert from their usual purchases. Brands such as Coca-Cola and PC Windows 7 have been blatantly attacked in national television commercials through media manipulation and comparison advertising.

Media manipulation is defined as “an aspect of public relations in which partisans create an image or argument that favors their particular interests.”

Comparison advertising is a “promotional technique in which the advertiser claims the superiority of its product over competing products by direct or indirect comparison.”

Companies have been using manipulation and comparison advertising in recent television commercials in order to divert attention from a competitor’s brand to their own.

Santa Claus: the legendary Coca-Cola icon

The Coca-Cola and PepsiCo rivalry is still one of the oldest, most publicized product rivalries in America. In the summer of 2011, PepsiCo took the competition to the next level by stealing Coca-Cola’s most iconic symbol, Santa Claus, in its “Summer Time is Pepsi Time” commercials.

“The commercial stars a short-sleeved Santa who does the unthinkable and deliberately picks Pepsi-Cola over Coke – because he’s on ‘vacation’,” Fiona Roberts said in a July 2011 MailOnline article.

Usually competition shown on television is behind the lines, but this commercial specifically got me thinking . . . Is this blatant strategy even ethical?

According to the Businessihub article, “Comparative advertising: Ethical mode of increasing the brand image,” comparative advertising has been begging the question of whether this marketing strategy is ethical.

The PepsiCo commercial clearly overshadows Coca-Cola’s ownership of the Santa Claus icon, giving it a more enjoyable connotation by partnering the concept of Santa drinking Pepsi with the idea of summer vacation. Can PepsiCo really overshadow the entire idea of the Santa Claus icon that Coca-Cola began in the first place? According to a Businessihub post, “overshadowing a brand to increase the market penetration for one brand is considered as an unethical process by many.”

After watching the “Summertime is Pepsi Time” commercial for the first time, I was shocked by PepsiCo’s use of such blatant competitive attacks. According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, “the intent and connotation of the ad should be to inform and never to discredit or unfairly attack competitors, competing products or services.”

In the 2011 commercial, PepsiCo failed to inform consumers of its product, and instead created its main focus around Santa choosing the Pepsi product over Coca-Cola.

Steve Job’s invention of Apple – PC’s worst nightmare

On its website, Apple describes the act of buying a PC Windows 7 as a purchase downgrade because obtaining an Apple product has the potential to “upgrade your entire computer experience.”

While browsing the Apple site, you constantly run into claims that the Apple computers are a far better choice than a PC: “It has features you won’t find on a PC. So from the outside in, a Mac is designed to be a better computer.”

In a series of the “Get a Mac” television commercials starring actor Justin Long (seen in films such as Jeepers Creepers, Dodgeball and Live Free or Die Hard), the Mac computer is repeatedly suggested to be a far better choice of a computer.

According to a PCWorld Article, “the commercials pinned a nerdy-looking, suit-wearing John Hodgman as a PC against a younger and supposedly cooler Justin Long as a Mac.” Through the use of a celebrity endorsement the commercial is using comparison advertising. The Apple industry is clearly implying that Mac users are essentially “cooler” than those who use a PC.

The “Get a Mac” commercials raise the ethical question of whether the stereotypes depicted are even true. According to a CNN news article, a survey by Hunch suggests that Mac users can be seen as “elitists or more pretentious.” I find it to be a far-fetched claim that using a specific brand of a computer can actually change you as a person; a computer is a computer, right?

Are these ads offending PC users, giving them the reputation that they are less tech-savvy just because they invested in a PC rather than a Mac computer? It seems as though the Apple industry is manipulating its market to “think” just that.

We all can agree that commercials such as these have used media manipulation and comparison advertising to successfully reach their consumer market. But, when is that ethical line crossed and when will the attacked brands retaliate?

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Fierce in pink: “A Crucial Catch” initiative

by Hope Peterson

Sunday night you are sitting down on the couch about to watch the Falcons and Panthers play some ’ball but instead of focusing on if your team wins the coin toss, your eyes are drawn to the 250-lb. men with black-striped, intimidating faces wearing . . . pink.

Yes, you read me right. A pink tint fills the screen on ESPN channels as some of the country’s fiercest athletes support breast cancer awareness. NFL players are now “pretty in pink.”

An article on the American Cancer Society website explains the beginnings of its partnership with the NFL. In 2009, the NFL supported the American Cancer Society in its campaign to gain funds to improve access to breast cancer screening.

Families of NFL players, including Redskins guard Derrick Dockery and Tanya Snyder, wife of Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, attended the campaign along side the society. Tanya Snyder with Arizona Cardinals player Larry Fitzgerald soon became the face for what is now known as “A Crucial Catch” campaign.

According to a New York Times article, Snyder and Fitzgerald began by passing out pink gloves, wristbands and cleats for NFL players to wear during October games. Goal-post legs are also wrapped in pink.

Snyder said one of her daughters would push “pink ribbons onto reluctant men by telling them, ‘Real men wear pink.’” It was straight from the mouth of a child to an NFL player.

Now, as October begins Breast Cancer Awareness month, the NFL has kicked off its third annual “A Crucial Catch” campaign. The campaign aims to remind women who are 40 and older to schedule regular mammograms to promote the importance of annual screenings to fight breast cancer.

The goal of the American Cancer Society is to “save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early.”

“Throughout October, NFL games will feature players, coaches and referees wearing pink game apparel, on-field pink ribbon stencils, special game balls and pink coins – all to help raise awareness for this important campaign,” the NFL said in its description of the “A Crucial Catch” initiative.

Even though the color pink is associated with femininity, what better way to show women their support than for men’s heroes to broadcast a bold color they are proud to wear. These men who love their wives, moms, sisters, daughters, aunts, cousins, nieces, girlfriends and friends brave up and don the pink, proving to women everywhere that “thinking pink” can be powerful.

While pink has been the universal color for breast cancer awareness since the June 1990 Susan G. Komen walk, pink had yet to publicly cross that gender bridge until recent campaigns like “A Crucial Catch.”

However, professionals aren’t the only ones repping the pink. The NFL is asking coaches and players of all ages across the country to help campaign “A Crucial Catch.”

And, it has “caught” on very quickly. On Friday nights and Saturday mornings, high school and middle school football fields across the nation are filled with teenage boys in pink apparel. Now doesn’t that say something if a teenage boy will wear a “girl’s” color, just to tell his mom he cares?

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Disney roars again

by Jaley Cranford, editor

As I walked into “The Lion King 3D” at 9:30 p.m., I assumed that anyone who wanted to see the animated flick was fast asleep in their Cinderella or Batman pajamas. I was wrong. A theater full of people in their twenties awaited me.

Disney has long been known as an innovator of entertainment and it appears that the animation giant has done it again. After the film generated more than $357.8 million in 1994, Disney decided to rerelease the classic cartoon hit.

Disney is marketing 3D in a brand new way. Not only are new movie-goers welcoming Simba into their homes, but nostalgia drags twenty-somethings into a theater for a cartoon lion and his singing friends. As the theater resonated with approximately 100 college students singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” I realized that Disney might be onto something.

Disney blogger John Frost said that Disney retried the 3D film world after it merged with Pixar in 2006. After getting off to a rocky start with the over-promotion of “Chicken Little” and “Bolt,” Disney began to market 3D flicks in the same ways as its 2D classics. Frost continues that Disney’s marketing of 3D films has been reduced since the huge push for “Chicken Little.”

Regardless of how much money is spent on the marketing or promotion for the film, “The Lion King 3D” and other rereleased classics are big money-makers for the Disney corporation. However, many people see this rerelease as a lazy and exploitive move by Disney.

In a UK film blog, Jeremy Kay attacks the choice as one that tries to make the most money with the least amount of effort.

While Disney is not reinventing the wheel by bringing “The Lion King” back to theaters, the corporation is generating serious revenue. CNN reported that the flick grossed more than $29.3 million in its opening weekend.

An Entertainment Weekly article brings up another important observation. According to the article, “The Hangover” sparked a run of 8 R-rated raunchy comedies. Maybe Disney rereleasing “The Lion King 3D” to such overwhelming success will spark a new film revolution.

With the film world going back to classics to generate revenue, maybe we will see more 3D remakes of movies. With flicks like “Footloose” bringing older movies to new generations, 3D adaptations of older movies may be an easy way for movie companies to make money without new content.

The only problem: how do you market a rerelease without critical questions about the integrity of the film industry being raised? I’m not so sure, but I do think Disney will figure it out and keep audiences of all ages in theaters.

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Millenium hippies

by Dorothy Griffith

“My favorite part about life these days is the ability to complain about it online.”—@hipstermermaid

First they were beatniks. Then rock-n-roll fans, hippies, punks, rappers and more. Every generation has its version of counter culture and ours is no exception.

Today’s seemingly rebellious youth have come to be known as “hipsters.” They are characterized by an interest in lesser-known music and an eclectic fashion sense. They are young, intelligent, creative, politically knowledgeable and tech savvy. Most importantly, however, they are easy to mock.

In the article “Hipsters” by Dan Fletcher for Time Magazine, he defines the term as one used “to describe a generation of middle-class youths interested in an alternative art and music scene. But instead of creating a culture of their own, hipsters proved content to borrow from trends long past.” He uses their fashion sense as an example of this, saying: “Take your grandmother’s sweater and Bob Dylan’s Wayfarers, add jean shorts, Converse All-Stars and a can of Pabst and bam — hipster.”

But as much fun as hipsters have being hip, hipster-haters have even more fun making fun of them. The increase in the popularity of hipsters has spawned numerous parody sites, blogs and Twitter accounts that take joy in mocking the hipster-esque style of elitist cultural commentary and disillusionment with societal norms.

Unhappy Hipsters, for example, is a blog with the tagline “It’s Lonely in The Modern World” that takes pictures from modern interior design catalogs and gives them overly dramatic captions.

Hippesthipster and @hipstermermaid are Twitter accounts that pose as hipsters, tweeting fake commentary about what they deem to be the hardships of their trendy lives and their opinions of the failures of society. These accounts espouse things such as: “the hardest part of my day is getting my ear buds untangled” and “steve urkel was a fashion icon” (hippesthipster), or “To do list: 1- Untag unflattering pictures of myself. 2- “Like” various pretentious things. 3- Convince internet I’m interesting” and “I’m double-majoring in art and unemployment” (@hipstermermaid).

How long this trend will last is unknown. Will hipsters go the way of beatniks and hippies, eventually moving on and outgrowing their rebellious phases? Only time will tell. But until then, I’m going to enjoy the hilarious entertainment that it provides as I read through my Twitter timeline.

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Brady and UGGs: The perfect pair

by Meghan Rodriguez

Women love him and men secretly envy him. He’s won two Super Bowl MVP awards and holds the NFL record for most touchdown passes in a single regular season. He’s married to a Brazilian supermodel and recently signed a contract extension that amounts to the NFL’s richest deal on an annual basis. Still don’t know who I’m talking about? Flip open a current men’s or sports magazine and you’ll most likely see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the latest UGG Australia ad campaign.

Tom Brady is no stranger to endorsement deals. In addition to his $20,007,280 paycheck last year, Brady raked in $10 million in endorsements. His yearly salary ranks him ninth on Sports Illustrated’s “50 highest-earning American athletes” list. Brady’s major brand sponsorships include Under Armour, Movado watches, Glaceau’s Smartwater, private jet company NetJets, Stetson cologne and Atari’s Backyard Football video game. Best known for its sheepskin boots marketed mostly to women, UGG Australia is on a mission to conquer the male market, and who better to do that than Tom Brady?

UGG Australia is a division of Deckers Outdoor Corporation, which originated in 1973 as a sandal brand geared toward male surfers. The company announced its partnership with Brady in a November 2010 press release highlighting that the company would be featuring Brady in its global multimedia marketing initiative beginning with the fall 2011 collection.

Deckers CEO Angel Martinez was quoted in the release: “This partnership marks a new season for UGGAustralia and Tom Brady is the ideal first endorser for the brand. He embodies the stylish casual attitude that is at the foundation of every product we make, and is as much a style icon off the field as he is a playmaker on it.”

The announcement caused mixed reactions among sports commentators. On ESPN’s SportsNation, Colin Cowherd said Brady is “hip and urban, he can sell anything to anybody.” But Michele Beadle responded with, “The only thing I have a problem with is [UGGs are] very girly. I know men are starting to wear them more, but I still equate UGGs with California girls in denim shorts.”

Brady haters definitely jumped on their latest opportunity to make fun of the quarterback. From his photo shoots for men’s magazines to his Justin Bieber-like haircut and even his cleft chin, Brady has been the target of many jokes over the years.

However, he continues to ignore his naysayers and embraced his latest endorsement: “I have worn and loved the UGG brand for a long time,” Brady said in the press release. “This collaboration gives me an opportunity to work with a leading global brand with a great history and a true vision for the future of its men’s collection. It’s an exciting time to be part of the UGG Australia team.”

UGG kicked off the marketing campaign in appropriate fashion, unveiling its first broadcast commercial during the nationally televised Monday Night Football game on September 12 between the Dolphins and the Patriots.

The commercial, called “Steps,” follows Brady throughout the steps of his life. According to a press release from the company, viewers follow Brady on his journey through changing seasons and environments that ultimately lead to the stadium, wearing a variety of UGG Men’s footwear along the way. The :30 second spot also launched across online digital media platforms including ESPN.com, CBS.com, Pandora, Hulu and Brightroll. Along with the online content and print ads, the campaign also includes billboards and “tall walls” in Los Angeles, Boston and New York.

The campaign launched just in time for the holiday shopping season. UGG boots are extremely popular presents among teenage girls, but Martinez and the rest of the Deckers organization hope the Brady endorsement will result in huge sales for the men’s line.

Guys who idolize Brady will buy UGGs because they’re now considered cool. Women will buy them for their guys because they’re already familiar with the brand; and let’s face it — what woman doesn’t find Tom Brady attractive? All jokes aside, I think this partnership between Brady and UGG Australia will prove to be extremely beneficial to both.

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Staying ‘tru’ to the moo

by Bailey Carpenter

Growing up, the most glorious days of the week at my elementary school were chocolate milk days. We would all clamor and push for the door and fight over the brown cartons until every last one was gone. Some of us even claimed chocolate milk made the mystery meat taste better.

Recently, however, schools have taken such heat in the debate over childhood obesity that chocolate milk was banned from many schools because of its high sugar and high fructose corn syrup content.

Dean Foods, one of the leading food and beverage companies in the United States, began working in 2008 to create healthier flavored milk options, and ultimately bring chocolate milk back to the schools. The result is TruMoo (www.TruMoo.com), “a better for-you chocolate milk” made with fresh white milk and containing lower sugar, fewer calories and no high fructose corn syrup.

The product was launched nationwide in August with an ingenious campaign that included school pilots in the Northeast and on the Pacific Coast, a Twitter handle (@TruMooMilk), a Facebook fan page and even a sponsorship deal with the Grammy-winning show “Majors & Minors.” Most of their efforts were focused on changing parents’ and school administrators’ existing perceptions of chocolate milk.

“Dean Foods recognized that if we could strike the right balance of ingredients, flavored milk wouldn’t need as much sweetener,” said Andrea Carrothers, MS, RD, and nutrition communications manager for Dean Foods. “Our aim was simple: develop a nutrient-rich chocolate milk that moms and schools could feel good about serving and with a taste kids prefer.”

Carrothers also said that TruMoo milk was the clear choice in taste-tests — TruMoo was even preferred over some of the other high-selling flavored milk brands in Dean Foods’ brand family.

Additionally, Dean Foods’ TruMoo has not only brought moms’ approval back to chocolate milk, but to all classic milk flavors: strawberry, vanilla and even coffee.

TruMoo is produced by multiple Dean Foods dairies across the U.S. such as Shenandoah’s Pride, Barber’s andLAND O LAKES. Shenandoah’s Pride and TruMoo received national attention earlier this year when Fairfax County Public Schools lifted its chocolate milk ban so that it could sell TruMoo made by Shenandoah’s Pride in its cafeterias. This successful integration with the school system has become a focus for the TruMoo branding.

The brand also gained recognition this May when it was made part of the Wendy’s restaurant chain’s national beverage portfolio. The nationwide product launch also included couponing and national TV and print advertising. The light-heartedcommercials feature moms weighing the pros and cons of the product, complete with tiny ‘devil’ and ‘angel’ milkmen.

The result of all these TruMoo branding efforts? According to an August 30 PRNewswire press release, in taste tests, consumers prefer “TruMoo over national brands, chocolate drinks, and Dean Foods’ own previous flavored milk formulas”; TruMoo was “recently recognized with the ‘Parent Tested Parent Approved’ seal of approval”; and “tens of thousands of schools across the country have converted to fat-free TruMoo.”

With that said, three cheers for Dean Foods for bringing back a ‘Tru’ cafeteria favorite — not to mention launching a highly successful branding campaign.

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