I love this team, but I hate this ad campaign.
For the first time in two years, the Blue Jays marketing team has produced a set of Opening Day (Week) commercials that make you roll your eyes more than make you excited for the season to come.
It’s not hard to get Blue Jays fans excited for the season. Formula: show the Jays defrosting at Spring Training after the hellish Canadian winter, mix with player close ups on a soundstage and highlights from the past season. Overlay a song with the word “home” in it. Done and done. But this new team needed something better, didn’t it?
Embracing Twitter as part of a team’s marketing strategy is smart; making it the focus of an entire ad campaign is cheesy and narrow. Tweeting Tuesdays? Fine. Twitter Shirseys? Ugh. A hashtag as the team’s central slogan? The Blue Jays social media consultant is either insanely persuasive or Nadir Mohamed’s niece.
You’re better than this, Blue Jays. And if you’re not, you’re smarter than this. The Blue Jays official Twitter account has 234,603 followers. Their Facebook page has double that many in likes, and the fans on Facebook are much more active in sharing, liking and commenting on posts than what’s happening on Twitter. However, when you search #lovethisteam, which is the whole point of a hashtag slogan, in Facebook, it leads you to a Spanish clothing line.
I’m not saying the Jays should have created their ad campaign around Facebook, I’m saying they shouldn’t make their ad campaign so centrally focused on the limited scope of a single social media tool. I’m also saying putting a hashtag slogan in lights is as lame as it gets, and no one with any kind of sense of awareness wants to be tweeting what you’re telling them to tweet.
It gets worse. When the Jays pulled off the unthinkable and traded for the NL Cy Young winner, the soon to be GBOAT and other high-priced talent, they immediately became a favourite to win a championship. So lets put all these new superstars on a stage with the other Jays stars. We’ll put them in lights and they can fist pump and #loviste while a crowd goes nuts cheering their new team on.
That looks way too much like the most disliked pop-culture moments in sports in the last 5 years for my liking. Unintentional, maybe. But that is being awfully generous to advertisers who mull over every detail and would hold a focus group to test the Q rating of the breed of a family’s dog in an ad.
Then there’s this mess.
Because Sportsnet is branding themselves hand-in-hand with the Jays (smart) we get to see these same ads featuring reporters. I love Shi Davidi as much as anyone, but why the hell is he showing off his two-seamer on a stage with fans cheering him on? Ain’t nobody cheering for the beat reporters! Imagine if at the Miami Heat Welcome Home Party they had Le Betard come on stage with Bosh/Wade/James to spin a ball on his finger.
So here were are. An ad campaign with a hashtag slogan, a nod to the Miami Heat and the Blue Jays superstars being put on the same level as the team commenting on them.
But anyone can tear something down, do I have anything better? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT.
So we agree, this team deserves something better than the “home” commercials. And it has to be an ad that gets the slow-minded, mainstream fans excited about the upcoming year. Oh, I got just the thing…
The New TV Spot
The commercial starts in a cockpit of an airplane. The pilot reaches for the radio. The camera does a 180 turn and we see the inside of the Blue Jays private plane.
We move slowly up the aisle. To the left we see Joe Carter sitting in between Arencibia and Cabrera with Raja Davis and Mark DeRosa hanging over the seats behind them. They’re watching a TV, we don’t see what they’re watching, but we hear Tom Cheek’s voice, “He’s 0 for 3, with a sac-fly. So noooow the spotlights on Joe…”
Our view, continuously moving up the aisle, pans to the right and we see Tony Fernadez, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifcacio and Robbie Alomar playing cards and talking in spanish. Jose Reyes is smiling.
We pan back left as we continue forward and see Kelly Gruber talking to Brett Lawrie. We don’t hear what Kelly says but we see his lips move and it looks like he MAY have said, “I f**king tagged him…” as Lawrie nods and takes a sip of his Red Bull.
We look to the right and we see John Olerud with his arm around Adam Lind as Adam rests his head on John’s shoulder. Olerud is reading Lind excerpts from Shawn Green’s book, The Way of Baseball.
Forward and to the left it’s Devon White. It looks as though he’s teaching Rasmus and Gose how to catch lazy fly balls at their chests like mother effin’ GANGSTERS!
To the right Ricky Romero is sitting with Dave Stieb and R.A. Dickey. Stieb is telling Ricky to chill the hell out. In the far right of the screen… Is it? That might be Juan Guzman. Hardcore Blue Jay fans will debate this sighting for years to come.
And finally, in the back of the plane, it’s King Carlos, George Bell, Jose Bautista and Eddie sharing a big laugh over what it’s like to smash baseballs and crush dreams.
Fade to black.
Fade in from black.
The plane has landed and the 2013 Blue Jays are boarding a bus on the runway. In the background you can see the past Jays greats standing together, watching these current Jays board their bus headed for the Rogers Centre. Fade to black.
The teams slogan, written in the TORONTO BLUE JAYS script, appears on screen:
The Sportsnet Crew’s Version
Shows clips on the plane as written above. Fade in on the Jays getting off the plane. Who’s there to greet them? The Sportsnet Crew. Show shots of the crew interviewing players: Jamie Campbell is talking grit with DeRosa, Hayhurst is getting Dickey to autograph his book, and there’s the Tao of Stieb with his face blurred out. You can audibly hear him weeping as Dave Stieb shakes his hand.
Same stuff as before, but as the Jays bus pulls away the camera zooms in on the back of the plane. There we see Andy Stoeten, Drew Fairservice and Dustin Parkes crawling out of the cargo hold. Stoeten stands up, pulls out a bottle of whiskey, and slams it. Parkes’ suit looks crisp. You can hardly tell he was sharing a kennel with one of Burhle’s dogs.
Thanks to Dave Burrows for the post. I repeat, this is a guest post.