31 Jul Take me out to the brand game
Written by Tom Score, Managing Director
“Hit sign, win suit.” That was the famous sign on the outfield wall of Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn where the Dodgers played. To win, all they had to do was hit the sign on the fly. Abe Stark, the owner of the shop didn’t have to give away many suits, but the brand was firmly established thru this clever piece of advertising.
Fast forward 86 years to CitiField, where the team that replaced the Dodgers in New York play. Driving past, from any angle, you will be bombarded with sign after sign screaming out brand after brand. Not surprisingly, you’ll be met (no pun intended) with the same inside. But in today’s world of baseball signage, digital has been added so that more space can still be sold over and over again during the course of the game to hawk more products and generate more revenue for the home team. Yet, with all the space and delivery options, nothing comes close to the originality and fun of Stark’s sign for his suits.
As I was sitting in Yankee Stadium a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between a Dad and his 20-something son. The son was staring out to left field and said “do they really think because there’s a sign I’m gonna want some Bigelow tea? What a waste of money.” This sparked a conversation about branding and the branding of Bigelow in particular. The sign is not meant to make you thirsty or wanting of a cup of tea right then and there. The brand, and any of the multitude of others around the Stadium, benefits from its association with the New York Yankees-the most iconic brand of them all. Originally Bigelow depended almost singly on another NY institution-Don Imus. Imus spoke of the brand every morning on his radio program and gave his hearty endorsement of the product.
Another brand made famous through baseball is Mazzini peanuts, which have been sold at Yankee games since game one back in 1923. When George Steinbrenner bought the team 50 years later, he had a meeting with the Mazzinis. He told them he would keep all the profit from the sale of their peanuts and they would reap their reward and earn their money on the retail level based on their relationship with the Yankees brand.
He was right. So is Bigelow.