Bits & Pieces?
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?
The internet has caused many a blogger to signal the end of just about everything.
TV commercials — their existence and effectiveness — were supposed to die years ago. The newspaper business has been reported to be on life support. And the music business, well, they’re still trying to figure it out.
But while watching the Packer game last night a new thought came to me: Why has the internet not signaled the timely end of the local weatherman?
It started with a promo, where a weather guy came on and said: “Will this perfect weather last through the weekend? Find out after the game.”
It was a bizarro world moment, a world where the information being teased — what the weather would be this weekend — was some kind of best kept secret you had to wait to hear to find out. But those days are gone. And the weather is very available 24-7 now. Sure there’s a handful of octogenarians who wanted to find out what the weather was going to be but fell asleep just before the game got done. It was 11 PM by then.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have soem kind of personal vendetta against local meteorologists. But they seem to remain unscathed in a technological world where the information they give to us is simply a repeat of something that is available to us all the time. They used to corner the market on doppler radar. But all of us have access now.
In our business, technology has changed everything. None of us are unaffected. Entire agency cultures have changed and interactive departments have sprouted up in every miniscule corner of the world. We’re adjusting and have (no pun intended) weathered the storm of the end of “traditional” advertising. The weather guy though? Reinvention is necessary. As their market starts to dwindle due to the relatively free access to information, they’ll need to adjust as well.
Needless to say, I watched the end of the game, got the 10 day forecast and went to bed. Weather guy, I’ll leave the light on for ya.
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