Hustle, Heart, and Desperation

The constant bombardment of advertisements and a constant stream of not-so-subtle invitations to spend money someplace are a fact of modern life. It is what it is; we can only arm ourselves with a healthy dose of cynicism if we hope to survive.

A simple yet effective post by Craig Robinson (his stock in trade, really) angried up my blood in a way I couldn’t expect when I first clicked the link. Flip Flop Flyball dropped all the official MLB site headers into a single post, putting the various marketing strategies on blast. The images ran the gamut from simple and clean to clunky and awkward. One stood out for all the wrong reasons: the Toronto Blue Jays.

As Craig astutely points out, the use of “2.0″ is cringe-worthy at best in the year 2011. Used in conjunction with last year’s slogan doesn’t make it okay. The slogan itself – Hustle and Heart – doesn’t exactly make me proud to be a Jays fan. Don’t forget the incredibly conspicuous maple leaf!

The entire presentation lays the Jays strategy bare – selling you a bill of goods in a very specific way, branded to the hilt with a glorious maple syrup topping.

Apparently this strategy, however cynical and insulting, works. According to recent attendance numbers, the Jays are enjoying the highest season-over-season boost in paid customers. This news comes as no shock to FAN590 listeners, as the Jays ticket surge featured prominently in all their sports updates Thursday.

The constant attendance reassurances play off the crazed obsession with the number of seats the Jays may or may-not sell. I can recall hosting liveblog of Opening Day in the past and being bombarded with questions about attendance – did the game sell out? How many people are there? Is it a sellout?

Rogers wants to assure you that many people from all walks of a life attend the games, where they are thoroughly entertained by the hustling, working-class denizens just like the TO crowds pretend to be. They’ve heard our cheers for Reed Johnson and now they’re selling it right back to us. Don’t forget the Dougie Gordie goodness of 18 Americans and 7 Latin dudes fighting for the Canadian flag. It’s enough to make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.

The news of a looming re-brand is probably for the best, as the logo and color scheme make more enemies than friends. Hopefully they company in charge can come up with something a little more inspiring and original than a series of bland platitudes fused together.