Thursday, April 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Predict the Sixers' New Slogan Contest

All right, it's not really a contest. There aren't any prizes. We're in bankruptcy here, for God's sake. You think we're awash in prizes?

Predict the Sixers' New Slogan Contest

Ed Stefanski and the 76ers have launched a re-branding campaign. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Ed Stefanski and the 76ers have launched a re-branding campaign. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

All right, it's not really a contest. There aren't any prizes. We're in bankruptcy here, for God's sake. You think we're awash in prizes?

How about a free subscription? Fine. You got a computer, you already got a free subscription. Clever how we worked that out, wasn't it? Doesn't cost you a dime.

Not that it keeps us from poking good-natured fun at other businesses that are struggling a little bit. Like the Sixers, who keep going to the mailbox in the morning looking for those season-ticket renewals, opening it, looking in, closing it, coming back in five minutes, still nothing.

Sports teams are smarter than newspapers. They charge money for tickets -- similar to a subscription -- but when they let you see the content for free (or as free as those cable TV crooks allow), they get money from the cable crooks. We should look into that. If you get your internet from Verizon or AT&T or AOL or Father Comcast or whomever, those guys should give us money if they want their users to see newspaper content. Otherwise, they get GinzuKnives.com and SaveTheMacaroons.com and that's it. Take a memo on that. Get back to me.

The Sixers should have all this stuff really figured out. Comcast owns the team. Comcast owns the building. Comcast owns the cable company. They let Mr. Minority Owner Snider make some decisions while the Roberts family is buying and selling continents, but in that really big building they just built near City Hall, there really isn't a lot of talk about whether Kareem Rush was used properly last season. But even they know it ain't going well.

The problem is that you can't fool the people. (Well, perhaps the word forever needs to be appended to the end of that sentence). And you can't fool them in a recession, for sure. The Sixers have won one playoff series since the 2001 Finals. They have gone through six coaches in that time and just hired a seventh. People aren't that interested in a team that has no chance to win a championship -- even if the team plays hard and overachieves. People want stars. They want real excitement. They want to believe they are seeing something special before the lay out 75 bucks to endure ear-splitting music and tiresome one-on-one basketball. That's what the Cavs are selling in Cleveland, nothing of particular substance. But it is selling.

Next season, the Sixers will be selling the magical motion system of Mr. Eddie Jordan, who is a pretty good coach and a believer in the Princeton half-court offense. It will be an improvement for the Sixers, who didn't appear to have a half-court offense previously, and, if things go right, the team will play hard and overachieve and maybe people will start to drift back.

That hasn't happened yet, though -- open mailbox, peer in, close, repeat -- so the team is going to hold what it is calling a "brand re-launch" next Tuesday. The franchise has been here since 1963, so maybe it's time for a "brand re-launch," which is marketing talk for, "We need people to think we're different, because what we were before we couldn't sell with ice cream on top." The idea is there will be a lot of sparklers and confetti and drum-beating and, suddenly, You've Got Mail!

And you know what a new marketing campaign means, right? Yes, new slogan. That's the ticket. A new slogan. Those are always great. We have those here at the newspaper, too. I think our current one is, "Get a Computer. We Can't Stop You." My favorite from the past was, "The Inquirer. The Most Important 15 Minutes of Your Day." We probably paid a lot to have someone think up that one.

The Sixers' brain trust might be puzzling over the new slogan right now, or they farmed it out to some promotional consulting crooks or ad agency. It's got to be snappy. Has to scream new day to anyone who hears it. Must put them in a trance and make them write a check.

Hmmm. What can it be?

Sixers: We Give Teams Motion Sickness

No, that's awful. God, that's like one of our slogans.

Sixers: Legal Motion

Sixers: Sammy Looks Good On The Bench, Huh?

Sixers: Try To Keep Up

Sixers: Who In Hell Can Jason Kapono Guard?

Sixers: Jordan Rules (For Now)

Got nothing. Got a good one for the Sixers? Comment away. We'll select the best and make sure the Sixers get it before next Tuesday. A re-launch is a terrible thing to waste.

Bob Ford Inquirer Sports Columnist
About this blog
Bob Ford has been writing about Philadelphia sports since 1981, and is still trying to figure it all out. A former beat writer covering the Phillies and the 76ers, Ford became a general sports columnist for the Inquirer in 2003, following in and occasionally falling in the deep footsteps of Bill Lyon, Frank Dolson and many distinguished others. He comes to the Philly.com blogosphere after award-winning success as designer/editor of the fabulous Pen & Pencil Club softball blog. Likes: Palestra, inside-the-park home runs, sunny days. Dislikes: phony people, cloudy days, rewrites. Reach Bob at bford@phillynews.com.

Bob Ford Inquirer Sports Columnist
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