Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Can You Hear Me Now?

A few days before the Cubs announce a marketing tie-in so that the team can use the sponsor's silly walky-talkys, a move that would put an end to the good ol’ bullpen phone, a column appears in the Chicago Tribune by their technology writer, calling for a diamond vision to replace the venerable old scoreboard.

What is the connection? In order to defuse potential outrage of such a blatant and incongruous marketing and sponsorship tie-in by showing that the Cubs respect tradition, they put a bug in the ear of the Tribune technology writer (who may have heard about the Cubs-Motorola deal) to write a provocative article about replacing the scoreboard. Now, that story gets lots of play, and then when the Cubs come out saying they have no interest in changing the scoreboard, the purists will be satisfied, and therefore, not be as offended by the wireless phone charade.

The net effect is that Motorola gets to have an obnoxious product placement, a disgusting move made, admittedly, by the team to receive “another revenue stream for the Cubs organization in terms of a rights fee, and it should become a lucrative branding opportunity for the sponsor.”

Wonderfully, as the shills for the Cubs and their sponsor got the camera poised on Larry Rothschild and the bullpen coach, Juan Lopez, the phones failed. Or, at least, failed enough, that they had to go back to the archaic technology of land based phone lines. Not surprisingly, the cameras turned quickly away from the scene of the two coaches staring at the phones, hoping they would work, and then eventually giving up.

1 comment:

Frank the Tank said...

Astute observation on this connection. When I saw that Tribune column last week on making the scoreboard electronic, I immediately thought its only purpose was to rile up all of its readers. I mean, it's not often that a back-of-the-business-section tech column gets a huge teaser essentially screaming "Tech Guy Says Wrigley Scoreboard Needs to Go" on the front page of the paper. Even as a Sox fan, I really don't have the standard South Side gripes about the Tribune's control of the media in Chicago. However, I wouldn't put it past them to leverage the paper to make a preemptive strike on the Motorola announcement.