By Sean Gallagher
Blues marketing has had a long tradition of strong campaigns. Bleed Blue and all of its various offshoots and permutations was a positive PR plan that fans seemed to embrace. The team even won an award for that campaign as one of the best in the NHL.
That said, nothing could be worse than last year's fiasco of a campaign - The Blue Revolution (the website doesn't even exist anymore). That campaign, much maligned on this site, in our print paper and on our message board, effectively ended the relationship between the Blues and that Marketing firm. In fact, I know that the Blues have hired a new firm to handle their PR. Unfortunately, they already had the new "Whatever It Takes" motto in place before that firm came on board. Too bad, because that it needs a little work too. I mean, I can already point out a few areas where the Blues haven't exactly done "Whatever It Takes" going into the new season.
Which brings me to the latest mistake the management has made as they reach out to fans. On the positive side, the Blues haveÂ built their prospect pipeline well, currently ranked 4th in the NHL byÂ Hockey's Future,Â and thrown money at big-name, still-effective free agent Paul Kariya since we last saw them on ice.
So, why, then, do I have to be subjected to this eye-roll inducing ad at every turn?
I guess Doug Weight is here to pick up my money. Great.
The next wave of these ads is apparently going to be players and/or management calling up to the viewer in a Romeo and Juliet-esque setting.
Get it? They're trying to woo back a former lover.
And yes, you and I are the lover in question here. I guess we were the best piece of ass these guys can remember, because now their outside our houses making themselves look stupid Say Anything-style just to get another crack at it.
Sorry, Blues, but this is yet another campaign you can toss in the "Missed the Mark" bin. The reason is simple: last year was the year to beg for forgiveness and ask for our return. There wasn't much there to bring us back aside from assorted retirement ceremonies (immediately followed by embarrassing blowouts), free food days and, well, I guess that's about it.
Begging for fans to come back would have been a pretty good fit last year.
But this year is different. This year we have a good, competetive team to come watch. We have a new young icon to come gawk at in Erik Johnson. We have a new, exciting scoring machine in Paul Kariya to come watch. We have a good goalie in Many Legace, supported by a solid defense built around a resurgent (fingers crossed) Eric Brewer, a resurgent and healthy (fingers crossed) Jay McKee and an angry and better-adapted to the new game (fingers crossed) Barret Jackman. Dutchie Stempniak, Jay McClement and David Backes will be there. Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk will be doing their best impressions of first-line players for us.
We have a good team. Hopefully a playoff team. There's no reason to beg anymore.
Besides, it sends the wrong message to the optimistic amongst us. If, as I believe, this team is headed towards a good season, when I see this begging ad pleading fans to come watch the team, I think to myself, "whoa, what do they know that I don't know? Maybe I read this wrong."
The time is now for the Blues to be confident and be aggressive about their team and their marketing. Not that I'm promoting joining the Army right this second, but the Army has had good commercials for years now and the basic format translates easily to hockey.Â Stand by Blues management and PR firm, here's your freebie: jump cuts, action sequences, a camera that shakes in first-person when the action shows a big collision, with a hard-edged rock anthem (from a song released within the last year, not from the 80's) is what this fanbase needs. Throw on the mandatory stencilled-paint logo and info at the end of the commercial and you've got a winner.
You've done a good job building a respectable team again - accentuate that and the fans will be excited and will come back.
You look like winners, so start acting like winners. Leave the begging to the Blue Jackets.