Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm All for Advertising, But . . .

Have you noticed getting a little less Cubbish of late?
It's so nice of the Illinois State Lottery to include a little Cubs-related content on their website. I wonder if the Cubs had to pay for that?

Nope, that's actually a screenshot of, and it ought to put to rest any speculation that the Cubs blocked the Horseshoe Casino rooftop because they didn't want to tarnish the Wrigley brand with a blatant endorsement of gambling. I didn't really buy that theory to begin with; it's the Cubs, not Wrigley Baptist Church. Besides, I'm not here to criticize the Cubs choice of sponsor (the lottery is head and shoulders above Toyota and BP, anyway).

But of late has hosted an advertising onslaught that makes the site more hassle than it's worth. Over 50% of the screen is covered in ads. Links often trigger pop-up ads for Publisher's Clearinghouse giveaway. Autoplay ads and highlights slow down load times while aggravating the snot out of me. They (like all of MLB) refuse to share highlights. And they still fail to see the irony in the It's a Way of Life banner gracing a site that looks like total crap for a team that plays that way.

I hope fans can let this put an end to another myth: that the Cubs organization is at all concerned with the fan experience. They may be obsessed with prolonging the illusion of the Wrigley experience—transcending time and space to bring a slice of wholesome, whimsical nostalgia to anyone who lays eyes on the Cubs logo—but they're doing a lousy job of it. The Cubs have very little interest in making a personal connection with you as a customer or as a fan. They just want your money.

I'm not saying the Cubs are wrong to prioritize revenue over customer satisfaction. The merits of what they should do on ethical grounds or what would constitute better business practice is another debate entirely. I'm just saying, until they change the way they operate, don't give the Cubs organization the satisfaction of suspending your disbelief. You know the nature of the way they do business. It's not mystical. It's not family friendly. It's a 2-bit carnival show. Granted, I love watching the team. I just have zero affinity for the organization, and I'm sure it doesn't bother them in the slightest.

But look at it this way: the Cubs are doing you a favor by encouraging you to leave their site and play Mega Millions; it dramatically increases your chances of winning.


  1. I'm reasonably certain, yeah. Actually, the Cubs and the White Sox both have the ads blanketing the background, but every other team I visit just has some variation of the team logo as a wallpaper background. MLB streamlined the team sites about 10 years or so ago, but there's no way teams don't have at least some control over the content.

    And yeah, in the short term, lotto > Toyota.


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