Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How to Market That Russian Fella?

Reading the old Puck Daddy this morning. Reading the interview with the new co-owner of the Florida Panthers. Reading this:

P. Diddy: It's an interesting concept you've hinted at: That there are very few players in the current NHL that you could acquire and then market to a general sports fan as a gate attraction. Look at the Atlanta Thrashers: They have a legit star in Ilya Kovalchuk(notes), but what does that mean for a general sports fan in Atlanta? Is he Ovechkin to them, or just a guy with a funny name?

Panthers Dude: That's a good example, right? That one superstar, arguably one of the top 10 players in the League. And the market doesn't know who he is, or they're not marketing him properly.

Obviously, this is something that puzzles us all. Atlanta has one of the greatest and most exciting hockey players in the world playing right here, but very few people in the area know his name. WHY?

To me, the answer is stupid-simple. Kovalchuk won't be popular in Atlanta until hockey is popular in Atlanta. Hockey won't be popular in Atlanta until the Thrashers put together a good season and hopefully a good post-season. I really have a hard time believing that people aren't interested simply because he's a Russian with a--horror of horrors--Russian name. The professional football leagues in Europe are full of players from all over the place, most of whom don't play in their home countries. No one cares, as long as they're good. Obviously, the English prefer English soccer heroes, the French get excited about French stars, etc. But no FC Barcelona fan is going to ignore Thierry Henry or Lionel Messi because they're French and Argentine, respectively, instead of Spanish.

The reason for this? People there are football-crazy, and Henry and Messi are good football players.

So, to me, it really is as simple as that. Kovalchuk will be popular when the Thrashers are popular, and that will happen only, and I do mean only, when they get on a roll. Which, we're finding out, is possible.

The Thrashers marketing department is still terrible though. Marketing department...is that right? Is there such thing as a "Thrashers marketing department?" Or do they use some ad agency staffed entirely by fifth-graders? Need to get the Short-Handed Mole on it.



j_barty_party said...

Obviously if they have not stumbled upon the idea of a B&W Western-themed "shoot 'em up" featuring our best snipers (led by Sheriff Kovy and Deputy Dicky Pevs) for an in-house featurette to get the fans' collective dander up and out of their seats to bluster lustily about their Thrash heroes, then they are stupid jerks.

No ifs, ands and buts abooot it!

Mortimer Peacock said...


Non-hockey writing is taking up all my time at the moment, but I promise the first few scenes of "Deadeye Dick and the Russian" will be out next week.

the jointhead said...

I heard a Kovalchuk is when you get too drunk and puke so much it comes out your nose. Yes the PR department is quite awful (remember those post apocalyptic/terminator/WTF radio comercials). I think we need an underground operation to spray paint buildings with Kovy image and blow up a few starbucks to create instant attention. The first rule of thrash club is you don't talk about thrash club!

A2B said...

Our PR department sucks. They never team up with any big charities around Atlanta that would really get the guys known to everyone. Also, the team needs to win in order for people to want to know who they are.

j_barty_party said...

A floating Czar head that can be tied to street lamps on Peachtree St from Andrew Young all the way up to 1th Street ought to help!!

krisabelle said...

What the "Marketing Dept" needs is FAN/SEASON TICKET HOLDER SUGGESTIONS. We are bursting with them like Balki and Larry!! Aside from the obvs amazement that will be the western screenplay you are whipping up, Mr. Peacock, it would also be nice to see the team in more advertising scenarios to get the public intrigued. Have you seen our team? There are many "marketable" faces therein, not to mention the talent to back up the hype. If they keep doing what they've been doing, hopefully the local TV news will start giving them more attention and create more interested viewers who then buy tickets to check the shit out first-hand! "If you build it, they will come."

Also, pls note that the Mega Millions jackpot today is $17M. What's today's date? Oh, the 17th. Let's all buy tickets so we can win some dough and start our own guerrilla Thrashtastic marketing division!

j_barty_party said...

Awww snap girl! K-belle is right! Lotto tkts for everyone!!

Yo yo P-Morty, bring your overcoat cuz the Thrasherz are gonna skate past ya like your D is comatose!


Our new marketing campaign should center around the adventures of Deadeye Dick (or Ten Gallon as the ladies like to call him) and a remix of an Organized Rhyme song about the Thrashers featuring Tom Green, Colby Armstrong and Tobias Enstrom who is known to have some pretty sick flow!

Check the spud bar, ya like it so far! Bladow on dat dope shit!

Okay, what in the hell is wrong with me...must be all of this premature jocularity with respect to our beloved Thrashers!! I'm not used to this!!

Jay said...

I'm going to throw out an idea where the Thrashers players and the Blue Crew do a spoof of Baywatch with Ron Hainsey playing the part of Hasselhoff. They end up saving hockey in Canada by helping the Maple Leafs players learn how to skate, pass, and shoot.

Mortimer Peacock said...

Sweet Jesus. I really didn't expect this comment section to become the greatest of all time.


You're absolutely right that there are tons of marketable faces on the team...the question is, how best to introduce the world to Ron Hainsey?

I must say Jay seems to have the solution, though.

Mortimer Peacock said...

Mr. Speaker-


And I nearly forgot, Krisabelle-

BALKI AND LARRY?!!!! I haven't thought of them since I was, oh, seven. A duo with true chemistry if ever there was one.

j_barty_party said...

Holy shish-kaboob Jay, that is fukkin' priceless! Hainsey-hoff surfing into Toronto's main port along the shores of Lake Ontario on his body board with the wind whipping through his long, curly locks and his confident smile beaming as he sprays surf into Jonas Gustavsson's catching mit!!

"Don't worry kid, I'm here to save this puck-crazed town and I need a "monster" of a goalie to help me!"

Oh dear heavens, we've got another featurette to sell to those Spirit bastards...they are gonna pay dearly for this stuff!! We can most certainly incorporate Tom Green into "Maple Watch" as the coach of the bumbling Buds and have him reprise his memorable exhortation to "Unleash the Fury"!!

Wait a minute, fuck the Leafs!! ;-)

aaron said...

You guys are positively giddy over here.

You kids huffin paint again?

Wayne stuck in AL said...

Seriously, names like Kovalchuk, Pavelec, Afinogenov don't connect with people in a metro area whose heroes have been named Aaron, Murphy, Jones, Smoltz, Ryan, Elliot, Wilkins (and spoke English). It also doesn't connect with a generation who get their sports from ESPN. Finally, European players don't connect with a middle-class black fan base you're trying to attract, nor native white Southerners, either.

As for Thrasher marketing (an oxymoron, if there ever was one), it was rather sad the only player who could be called an "ambassador" for the team was Garnet Exelby...

It might help a little bit if the Thrashers could request some of their players stay in the metro Atlanta area during the offseason like the Flames did.

krisabelle said...

Sad times: I did not win Mega Millions tonight. I'll have to consult my numerology chart more closely next time.

Aaron, yes, paint has been huffed! And puffed!

PS: I love Balki & Larry!

JuneyMoon said...

If they can't figure out what to do with Evander Kane in the city of Atlanta how are they going to figure out what to do with Ilya Kovalchuk?

Things will pick up after football season is over, especially if the Thrashers are still in it.

I was wondering the other day, if you were a "casual fan" and you'd watch a game if it was on, but you wouldn't go so far as to get Center Ice, how many games have you seen so far this season? About 5?

j_barty_party said...

I don't see how pasty white rednecks from towns like South Boston, VA and Peachtree City, GA are that much more exciting and charismatic than a flashy, ice wizard from Russia who can model clothes better than Tom Brady on his best day.

The biggest difference is the fact NASCAR has ridiculous brand recognition on their shiny race cars and the "folks" can identify with the drivers because they are just like you and me. However, if the marketing dept took the time to demonstrate on local TV and with more commercials just how real and down to earth our players are, then maybe more people would want to check them out.

Lastly, we have more than just Euro-Russian stoics who keep to themselves. We've got a goofy Canadian cut-up like Armstrong who can be featured as the ring leader in a Thrashers circus of lovable hosers from Canada (Pevs & Kaner) and all-American boys like Bogosian, Marty Party and OMGI Ron Hainsey...the kids will love it and ladies will swoon like swans!

Mortimer Peacock said...

Mr. Speaker-

You're right about everything you say.

You'd think Kovalchuk would be somewhat to market, though, because he gets so excited when scores a goal. He may not be the most animated person off the ice, but but he's insane on it.

j_barty_party said...

True dat, he is like a crazed dog when he's on the ice. His goal celebrations should be the stuff of legend on billboards along I-85

Why those fools can't figure this crap out is beyond me...I'd say Kovy is every bit as exciting to watch as say, that douchebag Michael Vick, for whom I paid $1,500 of his inflated salary for five years.