Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What Say You, Blue Jays’ Marketing?

Some say it’s crazy, others say it’s eccentric.

We all have our individual way of watching baseball. We have our traditions, our rituals. Some of us like to have a drink. Some try and learn the catcher’s signs. We may even put it on in the background while we make dinner or play with the dog. There is no wrong way to watch baseball.

There are times my attention is on the individuals behind the plate – the paying spectator. You know who I’m talking about. The ones who make us think, “how the heck did they get those seats” or “I want to sit in the TD section” or maybe even “why in the F’ is that guy wearing a Yankees cap”. They tend to grab our my attention whether we I want it or not. Maybe I’m crazy, maybe I’m eccentric. Either way, marketers love the fact the viewer’s eyes are drawn closer to their financial investment, their adverts.

For the Jays, behind the plate adverts could be about the dollars. It’s more likely about the corporate partnership. Most of the Jays’ corporate partners are long-term – think Honda, Home Hardware, and obviously TD.  New partners can bring an immediate influx of cash, but the long-term partner is who the team wants as they provide stable value and cost effectiveness. The kicker is the Jays need to ensure their partners possess similar values.

If you haven’t read or listened to Simon Sinek, take this as an opportunity. Sinek embraces what he calls the Golden CircleWhy, How, and What. As organizations, Why do we do what we do, Why do we exist? How do we do what we do, How are we different? And What do we do, What is our product/approach?

Corporate sponsors should share some form of Why with the Jays. Sinek continually references Apple in his examples – Apple always questions the status quo. So when Apple partnered with a soft drink brand they did not choose Coca Cola as they were the industry leader, rather Apple partnered with Pepsi as they shared the value of questioning the status quo.

So what is the Jays’ Why? If we consider their most visible broadcast adverts we have to assume it’s their Canadian identity. The Jays are Canada’s team.

As Canadian companies, TD and WestJet are great corporate partners. Same goes for Home Hardware. This is why we see these companies so often behind home plate during broadcasts. So far we’ve seen 25 different corporate sponsors show up behind home plate at the Rogers Centre, 13 are Canadian – or at least identify as such.

Home Hardware has purchased 11 innings worth; Budweiser 9; Coca Cola, Dairy Queen, Fallsview Casino, Honda, Pizza Nova, Sonnet, and WestJet with 7 innings each; The Keg with 6. These 10 companies make up the primary core of the Jays’ corporate sponsors – 6 Canadian, 4 International. Maybe we could stretch that to 7 Canadian, 3 International if we consider Honda’s Alliston, Ontario facility as Canadian enough – whatever that means. Considering this is corporate sponsorship and Honda is investing in the GTA, I’ll buy it.

You’re probably wondering why we’re talking about behind the plate signage, and it’s not solely because I’d like to share with you the value of Simon Sinek. It should be said though, my brother put me onto Sinek a few months ago and since that time he keeps coming up in conversations with professional scouts and agents. The guy is influencing all facets of the sports industry. However, the real reason plate signage is on the docket is because Home Hardware’s adverts are driving me bonkers!

We’ve all seen Home Hardware’s adverts. They are clean and they are simple. That red background with the white logo, it’s smooth. They are purchasing the most behind the plate signage, so it can be assumed they have a significant vested interest in this form of marketing. Over 7 home games, Home Hardware has double purchased innings 4 times. The only other company to double purchase is Budweiser and they’ve only done it twice.

Purchasing a single inning is not cheap. Don’t have the numbers but we can all assume it’s pricey! Double purchasing in the same game is dedication at a very expensive level. If a company is investing at a rate no other company is than they should be doing their due diligence and ensuring they are getting commensurate value.

Why then is Home Hardware’s logo in a position that is so easily covered? Next time you watch a game, check out TD’s logos. They spent some serious time considering where to place the logo to ensure exposure. Home Hardware’s purple advert is clearly not getting the expected exposure. Their traditional advert is fine, but their purple advert is effectively useless.

Figured after a couple games this would be addressed, but as you can see the same issue occurred in both home series. If I’m Home Hardware this issue should be at the very top of any marketing priority list as they are leaving incredible value on the table. Or, at the very least wait for a team heavy on left handed hitters to run this particular advert.

What say you… is Home Hardware missing out? Is the Jays’ marketing department partially to blame?

  • The_CRZA

    That would be on the creative department and the Media department. They should vet these sorts of things before placing an ad. Usually you want to place an ad at a location that will catch the most eyes. They should have figured where the logo would be placed, especially since they have the logo placed so low.

    • Blue Ox

      Take it you’d give the thumbs up to TD’s logo above the seats. Might not have noticed HH’s placement if it weren’t for TD’s.

      So many aspects of this game are fascinating if we take the time to pay attention – clearly you have an experience we all could benefit from!

  • Guzman's Jheri Curl

    Good case study for Advertising & Promotion 101 college class. Not a bad post, but 90% of target market here won’t give a shit. Jays are 7-4 and Sanchez is about to win his first against the trash crows!

    • Blue Ox

      Ha. Feel ya, but why not throw everyone a curveball with a throwback case study to Advert 101 – probably failed it anyway. Might have passed if someone from that 10% was sitting next to me!

    • Abogilo

      I love that the new BJN regime is trying to present multiple different types of discussions about different lenses through which our favorite baseball team can be viewed… I agree it’s an oversight to stick your logo behind most batters asses you would think the Jays marketing would have been able to show what would be in the field of view on premium add spaces. It makes me wonder if the HH adds are thrown in as filler when the others are not sold as part of a Major sponsor perk.

      • Blue Ox

        Once again, you’ve thrown me for a loop. Hadn’t considered the ad as a Major Sponsor Perk. You’re probably onto something and I need to start writing these with a “what is Abogilo going to say” mentality. Though if I did, you’d have nothing to razz me on!

        • Abogilo

          That is why the conversation is entertaining. I did not noticed the add’s failings until you had not pointed them out! Its easy to come up with a “what if” about an interesting subject someone has pointed you to, much harder to find that unique point of view and throw it out there. As I said before, I really like the direction this site is moving in. Keep it coming!

  • Barry

    I’m curious about the process. Does Rogers send advertisers a template and guidelines, and the advertisers design their own ads, or does Rogers design the ads based on what the advertisers want to see? I’ve done advertising primarily with print media, so it may not work the same, but often, especially a decade or two, both options would be on the table.

    Either way, there should be someone on the Rogers side of things who would know to look for such problems and advise against poor logo placement.

  • Knuckle Balls

    OK, but I never a pay attention to the crap behind the plate when my mind is on the game. I am looking at pitches and the batters positioning. TV ads do it so much more between innings with volume and sound. Particularly sound when I run to bathroom for a pee

    • Blue Ox

      ha. been waiting for this – not surprised it’s coming from you! MLB TV has made the game so much easier to watch. Just start it 5-10 mins late and fwd through all those damn ads. Life hack!

      Consider last nights game. The ump took a beauty in the “turn your head and cough twice” – tried not to notice but instinctively I cringed. Even when we don’t notice we actually do.

  • Groundskeeper

    Does anyone else think the tools sitting behind home plate who are on their phone and waving should be thrown out of the park? Those people annoy me.

    • Blue Ox

      So hard to ignore. Easier to accept when it’s a kid, but if you’ve got a beer in your hand you’ve got no excuse. Come to think of it, that all depends on how many beers in…

  • MartinH8er

    Interesting read. On a similar suject, why does the Power Workers Union sponsor the radio. They have done so as long as I can remember (at least 15 years). I never seem them sponsor anything else. Sure no one has the answer, but interested to hear thoughts!

    • Blue Ox

      Can only speculate…

      Radio adverts are typically far cheaper and the PWU is likely trying to engage union members who are, presumably, listening while on duty. Assuming it’s based on the PWU’s desire to reinforce their values in the most direct-to-consumer way. Jays’ radio broadcasts can reach all PWU Ontario members at once. I do not know this for certain but it seems reasonable as one explanation.

      Pretty sure there are others on here who might know better…

      • Abogilo

        They may also be targeting a conservative demographic (UNPROVEN ASSUMPTION) radio listeners tend to be older, and sports fans in general tend to be more conservative, and that group tends to be anti-green energy, anti-windmill.

        Maybe they are trying to separate people’s opinion of the union from their opinions on the current energy situation in Ontario in preparation for contract negotiations.