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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

More Media Outrage!
Will they ever get it?
by Hal Vickery

It’s time once again to play the Chicago Cubs (although we hope the Sox remember that they have to get through four games against the Indians before the hated crosstown rivals invade The Cell.  You would think that would be enough for those in the media to figure out the purpose of Brooks Boyer’s “Us vs. Them” commercial.  However, you would be wrong. 

It took over a week for the media to figure out that the Sox even had a new commercial running on TV, and then it took a couple of articles in the newspapers to stir up the sportsblab hosts.  You can imagine the furor it caused. 

How dare the Sox belittle the Cubs and their fans?  It should be beneath them to stoop so low as to poke fun at such a venerable institution as the Cubs!  The Sox and their fans do nothing but obsess over the Cubs and their fans.  They should clean up their own house first! 

Such were the cries from the likes of J. Hood, Jay Mariotti, Dan McNeil, and others when, after being shown on the tube and on the Sox scoreboard for over a week, they realized that something was going on at The Cell. 

And the worst offender came from the flagship station of the Sox from a self-proclaimed Sox fan.  During the discussion of Carol Slezak’s article about the ad, which came over a week after it was being discussed on WSI’s message boards (boy those newspaper reporters are quick to spot a story!), one of McNeil’s Cubs-fan co-hosts asked him to read the content of the commercial so the fans would know what he was talking about. 

McNeil then began reading “suggestions” that Slezak had made rather than the actual ad content.  McNeil is fond of saying, “Listening is a skill.”  Here’s a clue, Dan.  So is reading.   

When he was told that he was reading the wrong part, McNeil did go on to read the actual ad content before cutting to a commercial before he got to the punchline, the now famous, “Besides…the mayor likes us better.” 

There was even a worse offense than not knowing the actual content of the commercial before discussing it, however.  McNeil admitted he hadn’t even seen the commercial.  Yet he was pontificating about it.  Naturally, he thought it was a bad idea.   

Of course McNeil may have an ulterior motive.  If more fans actually come to the games, it will be harder for him to get back to his seats behind the first base dugout when he stands in the longer lines at the concession stands and restrooms. 

Our take on the whole thing is that Brooks Boyer is a marketing genius.  The idea of marketing is to get people talking about your product.  If you create a buzz, people might actually buy your product.  If they try it and like it, they are likely to come back. 

The Tribune Co. has been doing an excellent job of sucking the media into the Cubs marketing campaign for a couple of decades now.  The Wrigleyville myth, a creation of the Tribune Co., has become “fact” as far as the media are concerned.  They give the company free advertising every day, as we’ve pointed out here. 

Boyer has recognized that, and created a “controversial” commercial (insofar as it actually pokes fun at the Cubby myth) that the media love to perpetuate as unconscious(?) shills for the Tribune Co.   

There is an old saying among public relations people.  “Any publicity is better than none.”  The Sox, under their previous marketing director, had penty of  the none.  Boyer has started with the any.   

Who can doubt that this is only the beginning?

-------- 

And just as the Sox are ready to face the Cubs, Sammy is back!  The Cubs are saved!    Four years ago, a song appeared in this column, a song that took the nation by storm.  In honor of the return of Sammy Sosa, we’ll sing it again, and we ask you to join in. 

All right!  Lemme hear ya!  A-one!  A-two!  A-three! 

Take me out to see Sammy!
Take me out with the crowd!
Buy me a jersey with Sammy’s name!
I’ll wear it proudly
But won’t watch the game!

Let me root, root, root for the Cubbies
Although I don’t know their names!
I’ll drink twelve beers
And leave in the eighth
At the old Cubs game!

Copyright 2000 by Hal Vickery
All rights reserved.


Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at hvickery@svs.com.

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