Friday, April 13, 2007

Made it to the Big Leagues!

Please note: the date of this missive was March 30, 2007

At Long Last, a subterfuge (?!) unreels into a lovely relationship!

This may be a bit out of date, but as the Major League Baseball (MLB) season approaches, I was reminded of an article I had read back in June. It seems (or seemed at the time, at any rate!) that Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced an official candy bar.
The Swiss-based food giant, NestlĂ©, has worked out a deal for one of its All-American Brands (viz. Baby Ruth®) to at last take its place with the All-American pass-time of Major League Baseball (MLB)! This relationship is all the more amazing in light of the "true story" of the candy bar's origin. Let me share it with you.
Back in the glory days of one George Herman Ruth, Jr (not a single last name in the batch - how odd!), a candy bar was created, and named for the late daughter of former President Grover Cleveland. Sadly, "Baby" Ruth Cleveland had passed away at the age of twelve (12) in 1904. Seventeen (17) years later, in 1921, in order to mark what would have been her 29th birthday, the Curtiss Candy Company issued these luscious, commemorative chocolate logs.
In what would turn out to be a marketing "bonanza" for Curtiss (Note to the reader: I've done some research, and find that "Bonanza" was not yet on television in 1921, so in the interest of full disclosure, I note that this may not be the most appropriate term to use here), that same year the Boston "Red Sox" traded Mr. Ruth to the New York Yankees, and he became quite famous in the athletic circles of his day. So much so, that poor Ruth Cleveland's story was completely crowded out of people's mental associations (much as the Federal Government's borrowings can crowd out the borrowings meant to fund productive ventures).
There is now, among the "conspiracy theory" crowd, some thought that this later, apparently spurious association was, in fact, the intent of the Curtiss Candy Company from the start. (Why anyone in Chicago would name a candy bar after an "athlete" from Boston or New York has yet to be clearly explained to me, despite my partner Pat's, best efforts.) In this "reading" of history, it seems that this Windy City candy maker was disingenuous to an extraordinary degree. Further, it seems that not only did said Chicagoan receive no official benefits from this purported association, but now that a European food conglomerate (Swiss, in fact!) has reaped the All-American benefits of official recognition by Major League Baseball (MLB).
Well, regardless of one's theory of history (I'm a Thucydides man, myself!), the current situation can but make one wonder - what product being marketed today by association with one person, place, or thing will one day benefit from a different, perhaps unintended association with a different person, place, or thing? Could there be a Sanjaya Snack Cake in the offing? Is there room in the game industry for a board game called Simon Says?

"All right, Jay," I hear you say. "What's this leading to?" and you're quite right to ask, and I'm quite happy to answer. We here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC have developed a new line: we are pleased to announce our new naming-consultation practice. For years, there have been companies purporting to help marketers create names for their new products based on the "personality" of the product, or of the company, or even of the intended buyers. For the first time, we here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC are offering marketers the chance to name products in such a way as to ride the coat-tails of unintended associations - yet with relative litigation-related impunity.
Clearly, I can't reveal all in this newsletter, but I have revealed all to my partner, Pat, and with very gratifying results indeed. Don't miss out - if you're groban groping for a name for a new product or service, we here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC can help - and we're not joshing!


Last week, Jay wrote about sponsored mortgage rates:
John Werner responded:
"That's bloody brilliant, Jay. We here at (company name withheld) have been looking for a way to make ourselves valuable - nay, invaluable! - to potential customers, and you've hit us right on the head! Now all we need to do is ..."

Well, John, it's nice to see that there's someone out there who gets it - really gets it! I can't imagine a more valuable partner than one who helps with the house payments (right Pat!), and neither will your newly-dependent customers. We look forward to working with you on this.

-- Jay

No comments: