Jul 24

Talk About Paying to Get Screwed

Up until now, I thought that only prostitutes and the airlines made one pay to get screwed. Now, we can add the New York Metropolitan Baseball Team.

The Mets are an abysmal, rudderless team that, despite a recent renaissance, will go nowhere this year. They’re a bad product that consistently whets fans’ appetites with occasional above average and sometimes even stellar play, only to fall apart when the chips are down. Take last season, please. And take Tuesday night’s debacle against the Phils, please.

So, what does a consistently disappointing team do? Double the cost of ticket prices naturally.
Tohellwiththemets

Raising Mets season-ticket holder prices is wrong for every conceivable reason. In addition to further alienating a fan base that is ready to choke the next player who chokes in a critical spot, the Mets have made attending one of their games prohibitively expensive (it’s always been emotionally expensive. Now, it’s just a plain rip-off).

One can count on death, taxes and the Mets blowing a lead. Here’s hoping the Mets organization can count on a lot fewer paying fans next season. 
If ever a team decision deserved a fan boycott, it’s this one.

Thanks to Greg Schmalz for the idea.

Jun 18

Larry Bossidy would be proud of Omar Minaya

Omar Minaya and the Mets management are so inept that they even bungled the firing of their fumbling,Minaya
bumbling manager, Willie Randolph.

Rather than do the humane thing by removing Willie while the team was playing at home and in the midst of a dismal losing streak, they chose instead to make Randolph fly cross country to Anaheim. There, they fired Willie at the stroke of midnight after the Mets’ second consecutive win. What a travesty! Poor Willie.

That said, Minaya’s style reminds me of ex-GE Vice Chairman Larry Bossidy’s approach to executive executions. According to ‘Jacked Up,’ Bill Lane’s kiss-and-tell expose of GE during the Jack Welch regime, Bossidy was Jack’s go-to guy for axing underperforming managers.

Bossidy would start his day by hopping on the GE corporate jet in Connecticut. He’d then fly from one company town after another (ie. Louisville, Syracuse, etc.) He’d be met by the local business unit’s human resources manager. Together, they’d ride to the office in a chauffeured limo. Bossidy would get out, walk into the exec’s office and terminate him. Then, it would be back to the jet and two or three more firings.

Bossidy would be done with the executions by early afternoon. He’d then direct the jet to fly to Augusta, Georgia, where he’d get in a round of golf before returning to Connecticut for dinner. Nice.

Note to Omar: after the Mets dump you at the end of the season, maybe you could connect with Bossidy and/or get a referral to GE? They’d love the way you handled Willie’s going away party.

Jun 16

Read the non-verbals

It doesn’t take a behavioral psychologist to read the negative non-verbals of beleaguered Mets Manager7jz0fkb3
Willie Randolph.

Each post-game press conference is more painful to watch than its predecessor. Willie shuffles up to the podium, swigs some water, sits down, folds his hands and says, “Well, guys, that was a tough one to lose.”

A funereal air permeates the proceedings as Willie then tries to explain exactly why his team blew another, late-inning lead:

“Joe had good stuff in the bullpen. He just threw one bad pitch,” or “That’s why we pay Billy the big bucks. He’s going to succeed in those situations 99 times out of a hundred,” or, my personal favorite, “I saw some positives tonight, despite what the score might indicate.”

Willie will then shake his head, rub his eyes, emit a long-exasperated sigh and keep his arms folded. Rather than pump his fist, raise his voice and exhort reporters, fans and players alike to believe in the team, Willie simply retreats further into himself. Talk about a shell of a man. Phew.

Continue reading

Jun 11

This gives a whole new meaning to getting to second base

Baseball’s latest ‘scandal’ would be hilarious if it weren’t so serious.  According to various sources, RogersViagra_2
Clemens and other major league ballplayers routinely pop Viagra for on- and off-the-field performance enhancement.

Not content with their existing surfeit of steroids, athletes are now apparently ingesting the fabled little blue pill as well. Yes, Viagara, the bedroom drug of choice for Baby Boomers has become quite the ‘hit’ in baseball locker rooms from coast to coast.

Looking at this latest revelation from an image standpoint, one wonders who has the ‘bigger’ challenge: ballplayers such as Clemens or the big pharma company, Pfizer, which markets Viagra? Certainly the latter can’t be faulted for any misuse of its product. And, today’s generation of ballplayers have become so ‘tagged’ with drug use and abuse that the Viagra revelation leaves me, well, deflated.

As a matter of fact, I think this particular news item will last about as long as the average dose of Viagra. The larger question is this: who knows what long-term damage the ballplayers are doing to their bodies and to our national pastime.

Feb 21

Pro basketball fouls out

A new Harris poll of Americans shows a huge decline in pro basketball’s popularity. When asked to nameNba_3
their favorite sport, Americans chose pro football (30 percent), followed by baseball (15 percent) and college football (12 percent).

Pro basketball, which ranked third as recently as the late 1990s, is now an also ran. It garnered only four percent of the total, tying it with men’s college basketball and, ho hum, golf.

I’m not surprised by the results. Pro basketball is just plain awful. The season is endless. The games are boring. The players are one-on-one showboats. There’s very little teamwork and even less defense. Aside from that, it’s not bad.

The NBA model is broken and needs more than the next Michael Jordan to fix it. And, they’re paying the price with empty arenas and lower ratings.

I have to admit I never thought I’d see the day when Americans would rank basketball behind ice hockey, soccer and auto racing.   Hey, if nothing else, it may provide a co-branding opportunity. Maybe the NBA can strike a partnership deal with Ambien as a sure fire cure for insomnia?

Jan 29

What would you do with $2.7 million?

I know what I wouldn’t do with $2.7 million, and that’s blow it on a Super Bowl commercial. And, now atBudbowl
long last, comes scientific proof that, unless you’re Budweiser, you’re wasting your cash on Super Bowl spots.

A study just released at the Cognitive Science Conference (and what a fun group that must be!) showed that ‘…ads with poor cognitive skills were misattributed by consumers, and beer ads were attributed to the huge Super Bowl presence that is Budweiser.’ Translation: people simply don’t remember the ad they just saw. So, regardless of the category or the cleverness, Super Bowl ads don’t work.

This comes as no surprise whatsoever. Yet, the ad trades still routinely go nuts about ‘first time’ Super Bowl advertisers. And, Monday morning water cooler conversationalists everywhere will debate the most creative Super Bowl spot.

But, none of it matters because, unless you’re Bud, you’re ad’s going to be a dud.

Now, imagine for a minute how far $2.7mm would go if those very same marketers allocated the funds towards a mix of traditional and digital PR. It boggles the mind.

So, as you’re sipping your brew and eating that slice of pizza on Sunday, take a longer look at the ads. You’ll be watching $2.7 million literally going up in smoke.

Dec 04

Eli Manning is anything but ‘unstoppable’

The problem with celebrity endorsements is, well, celebrities. And, unless a brand acts quickly toCitizenwatchad0507
disengage itself from a poor performer, its fortunes can plummet right along with the celebrity’s stock. Sometimes the decision is obvious, and smart marketers have dropped such losers as Brittney, Barry Bonds and Michael Vick faster then you can say brand disaster.

But what should a brand do when it signs a deal with a marginal performer? Citizen watches is facing that dilemma after inking a deal with New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning. Unlike his celebrated big brother Peyton, Eli’s career has been anything but rosy. Despite pulling out a last-second win at Chicago this past Sunday, Eli’s performance was questionable at best. And, two Sundays ago, he single-handedly blew the game by throwing four interceptions against the Vikings.

So, when Citizen Watches airs commercials and publishes print ads saying their watches are as ‘unstoppable’ as Eli Manning, it elicits a chuckle, a cry of derision or worse.

Eli Manning is a real mixed bag. And, I for one don’t want to own a watch that, like Eli, might work one minute but stop the next. If Citizen continues to stand by their man, I suggest they switch from ‘unstoppable’ to ‘unfixable.’ At least it will ring true.

Tip o’ the hat to Isaac Farbowitz for this idea.

Nov 16

The Three Stooges Ride Again

Outlined against a blue-gray plasma screen, the Three Stooges rode again. This time, though, theirThreestooges
names weren’t Moe, Larry and Curly but, rather, OJ, A-Rod and Barry.

Bumbling, stumbling and anything but humbling, the neo Three Stooges are the uber role models for everything that’s wrong with today’s society. Whether it’s OJ’s criminal behavior, A-Rod’s surly self-centeredness or Barry’s lying and cheating, the Three Stooges are there in all their glory for us to see.

And, sadly, the media loves to shine the spotlight on these goofballs. I find it all rather tiresome and long for a TV Land marathon of the real deal.

Who wouldn’t prefer to see Moe poking Larry and Curly in the eyes than view OJ in another courtroom, A-Rod muffing another ground ball or Barry parking another home run into McCovey’s Cove? Here’s hoping it’s strike three for at least two of the modern Three Stooges.

Oct 04

You may have found Waldo, but i found Christ

Yet another disgraced athlete announced he had ‘found’ Christ in his time of distress. This time it wasMarbury_2
Knicks bad boy Stephon Marbury who, caught up in the disgraceful Isiah Thomas sexual/workplace harassment case, told reporters Christ had entered his life on June 29th of this past Summer (Repman’s b’day, btw). I don’t know about you, but I am sick of hearing fallen heroes like Mel Gibson, Michael Vick and Marbury suddenly ‘get’ religion. The only thing they’re getting is textbook advice from some crisis PR counselor.

Sep 25

OK, I’ll admit it. I love this commercial

As Repman fans and medical supply executives know all too well, I’m not a fan of print or broadcastNike_logo
advertisements. With a few exceptions, I think advertising money is money poorly spent.

That said, I adore the new Nike TV commercial that blends the awesome "Last of the Mohicans" soundtrack with a beautifully edited (and epoch) struggle of a running back attempting to score a touchdown against seemingly unsurmountable odds.

Just like the Daniel Day-Lewis character in ‘Mohican,’ the running back fights his way through any and all obstacles (rain, snow, huge linemen etc.) to reach his goal. And, while I’d rather fight to reach Madeleine Stowe (Lewis’s love interest in the movie) than score a touchdown, the concept works beautifully.

So, guess what? This ad actually broke through. Does it mean I’ll go out and buy Nike products or show preference to their brand over a competitor’s? Not likely. Rest assured, though, that when shopping for my next pair of sneakers, ‘I will find you.’

Thanks to Chris "Repman, jr" Cody for the idea.