Wednesday, July 14, 2021

You made me hate you.

At the age of 63 and a half, I'm still somewhat amazed at how tone-deaf, or dumb, brands can be. 

I've pasted just one example below. 

Maybe it angers me because for so many years baseball was sacrosanct to me. And the All-Star Game most holy of all. It was a gathering of the baseball gods on Olympus. A place of dreams and brilliance, of combat and conflict.

Baseball, in more naive times, belonged to us. 

Just like the Opera did.

Or a rock concert.

Or an art exhibit.

Sure, shows on TV were always "sponsored by..." but somehow this email subject line below goes behind that humble claim. 

"Presented by" makes me feel like you, Mastercard, believe you own this event. That you're doing me a favor letting me watch something I've watched every July since John Kennedy was President and Mays, Mantle, Musial and Snider roamed the outfield.

It makes me think of a land grab. 

Better, a usurpation.

I don't much like bullies horning in on other people's turf. I never much liked credit-stealing bosses who chirp "I. I. I." when presenting others' work. 

I've always believed that the best barometer for gauging brand behavior could be found in this simple sentence: "People like brands that act like people they like."

For the life of me, I can't find a good way to shoot that belief down. Yet every day, the modern ad industry brags, boasts, trumpets and takes credit for things they haven't done. Or they shout, exclamation point, exaggerate and more. Or they put their name on tax-payer-funded stadiums and arenas.

I'm big, you're little. I'm strong, you're weak. I make the rules, you follow them.

I understand Mastercard is a sponsor of the All-Star Game. They are NOT giving me anything. I am paying for their sponsorship with my eyeballs.

There are two ways people, governments, management and brands can go through life.

Most say YOYO. 

You're on your own.

The good ones are different.

They say WITT.

We're in this together.

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