March 08, 2005

Phillies marketing report card

David Bell is just one Phillie getting star treatment in a new series of dry-wit Phillies promotional ads, unveiled Sunday during the broadcast opener.

It's always a treat to preview the new Phillies promotional TV spots. Last year, I enjoyed the one with several players frolicking in a meadow to celebrate the new grass field at Citizen's Bank Park. Like the ESPN series of ads, I can't get enough of athletes and mascots doing stupid things.

This year, I got the biggest kick out of a Chase Utley-narrated tribute to David Bell, which went something like:

"Look at that swing (shot of Bell swinging). Look and that grab (shot of Bell leaping for a ball). Look at that hair (shot of Bell's hair). Look at that hair (another, slow-motion shot of Bell's hair)."

I'd bet cash money the people in the Phillies marketing department have the Onion bookmarked on their Web browsers. The commercials tend to have a dry-wit that seems to reflect the personality of players like Randy Wolf and Pat Burrell. The push for more Bell is probably a response to the third baseman getting off on the wrong foot with fans - injuries, bad offense and all.

But I wonder if they'd be better served using that spot to promote someone else, and use the comedy some other way. Bobby Abreu is as complete a player in baseball. Jimmy Rollins is the best shortstop in the National League, coming off a breakout year. They're great players worth seeing, and have never been properly marketed to fans. David Bell is a nice player, but not someone you pay to see, and the spot seems a little forced.

I'm especially confused by another ad that replays last year's infamous Jason Michaels bobble in center, which ends with Michaels knocking the ball over the fence for a home run. At the end of the spot, Michaels says something like "The important thing is, we won the game."

But in effect, what the ad says is the product on the field may be lousy, but you never know - we might get lucky and pull one out our rear ends.

Factoring in the so-so Jim Thome-narrated spot, and the so-so Ryan Madson spot, I'd give the new ads a "C."

Promotional item review
The David Bell spot would make sense if later in the year, they had a David Bell comb day. A David Bell comb day would be funny, inexpensive, and a decent way to promote David Bell. Hell, I'd go to David Bell comb day. "Honey, hand me the palmade, I'm going to David Bell comb day."

The best promotion on the horizon is the Sunday, June 12 reversible retro-style hat giveaway, that includes a 1980s script logo embroidery on one side, the Phillies "P" sewn-on patch on the other. They call it a retro-style hat. The rest of us call it a drinkin' hat. Reserve your tickets at

Sunday, July 17 is Pat Burrell and Billy Wagner action figure day, and on Monday, Sept. 5 it's Bobby Abreu's turn to be immortalized in glorious, throat-lodging plastic.

This year's promotional items earn a "B."

Retro-style drinkin' hat


At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Tom G said...

July 17th is my birthday, I think I would rather have the drinkin' hat.

At 8:55 AM, Blogger el123chico said...

the action figures look kind of cool. mini-macfarlane toys. much better than a bobblehead.


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