Thursday, April 4, 2013

Devaluing your own brand, baseball edition

This tweet, in which the Los Angeles Dodgers work a Bank of America sponsorship into a discussion of Opening Day, was probably conceived as a win-win. The Dodgers get a lot of money, and Bank of America gets a lot of publicity.

Of course, sponsorships are not unique to baseball. The concert venue in Devore, California has changed sponsorships numerous times. NASCAR drivers and cars are walking billboards. But the worst offender is soccer, in which the team name is not visible at all - if a southern California reader sees me talking about the Herbalifes, they know exactly who I'm talking about.

At the end of the day, doesn't this devalue your own brand?

The Dodgers have spent over a hundred years building up their brand, and now when people think of the Dodgers, they think of Farmer John hot dogs and Bank of America banking. In fact, because of one of the owners of the Dodgers, they'll also think about the Lakers.

So what are the Dodgers? What are the Herbalifes? Does Beckham still get free Herbalife junk, or does he have to get new junk from his new team's sponsor?

And what if the sponsor has problems? Remember the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood? Remember Manchester United's old sponsor, AIG?

Of course, business owners aren't charged with getting a brand. Business owners are charged with getting a profit. And we're probably at the stage where we don't care how the Dodgers or the Galaxy prostitute themselves.
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