The Packers are undefeated. And so is their brand
Marketing geniuses may have missed the Green Bay Packers announcement that they were going to begin selling shares of the team again to the public. It hasn’t happened since 1997, when they sold 120,000 shares, raising 24 million dollars which was used to cover stadium renovation costs.
For those that don’t follow the NFL, or those that live under a rock, the Packers are the NFL’s only publicly owned team. Fans own shares of the team.
The new shares of team stock, which went on sale December 6, are $250 dollars per share. In the first 11 minutes of the sale, 1600 orders were placed online. It stands to reason that people would want to own a part of the team they love so much. Who wouldn’t? Green Bay fans are some of the most dedicated fans in the world.
But there’s an interesting paragraph in an article on ABC news’ web site that actually digs into a deeper emotional connection between fan and team that most brands would salivate over. From the article:
“The sale marks the fifth time in the Packers’ 92-year history that the publicly-owned team has offered stock, though it’s really not an investment in the traditional sense. The value doesn’t increase, there are no dividends and it has virtually no resale value. But it does qualify the buy as team owner and conveys voting rights. It also qualifies the holder to attend the annual stockholder meeting at Lambeau each summer before training camp begins. They also get access to a special line of shareholder apparel.”
So, in other words, fans of the team are so dedicated and committed that they are willing to drop 250 bucks on a share of stock that gives you absolutely zero ownership in anything. It’s just a piece of paper that allows you to attend a shareholders meeting. That’s it.
How many brands would love to be in a position to offer their brand evangelists such a thing? The idea of fandom has an air of irrationality about it, but the idea that the Packers can sell pieces of paper to their fans for 250 dollars a pop is the mark of a brand that has a following that goes beyond the loyal to the absolute cultish. It’s what every brand aspires to be, yet so few actually get there. The sale of Packers stock marks the sale of something in which the benefits are 100% emotional and 0% rational. In tough economic times, it’s incredible that people can justify such a purchase. But if you have a brand like the Packers, you can pretty much get fans to do whatever you want.
What do you think? Would you spend 250 dollars on something you really wanted, from a brand you really liked, even though it gave you virtually nothing in return?