Team pulls off a successful off-season marketing effort
by Matthew Taylor
So the O's finally put Baltimore back on their road jerseys and revealed some other uniform alterations in a Wednesday afternoon press conference that was quite similar to the Ravens' uniform unveiling at the same location more than a decade ago. Perhaps the Ravens' example served the Orioles well as, for the most part, the team hit a marketing home run with this effort.
The only major downside to the Birds' marketing of their new unis was that they let word of the hat change leak out weeks in advance only to make a very minor - and unnecessary - adjustment that simply seems like an effort to pull in more merchandising bucks. Otherwise, the team handled this thing well. At noon, the official O's web site looked no different than it did all season; by 12:15, as the uniform ceremony was wrapping up, the site featured the new logo along with a link to purchase an updated jersey. Clearly, a well-coordinated effort.
Overall, the O's turned the news of their uniform change into a true off-season event, one that generated some buzz for the team and gave fans a reason to be excited soon after another losing season ended. The ceremony itself was quick and to the point, featured an appropriate tone of cautious optimism (okay, mostly cautious - Melvin Mora did announce his plans to drive in 130 runs in 2009), and gave a nod to the team's more celebrated past. And that's not even to mention that the biggest change - the addition of the Baltimore script - addressed a long-running fan demand.
If those aren't reasons enough to convince you that the team did things the right way, just consider some of the alternatives they could've gone with:
-Jim Palmer makes an appearance at the uniform unveiling and provides a true "flash"back to the team's past ... in his Jockey briefs.
-Team announces its intention to have all position players wear gold gloves in '09 to protest the snubbing of Nick Markakis.
-Eye patches instead of uniform patches.
-Jim Hunter stays at home, leaving the emceeing responsibilities in the hands of Rick Dempsey and Melvin Mora.
-Team sells advertising space on the new unis, starting with Southwest's "Wanna Get Away?" promotion.
-Terry Mathews appears and proudly announces, "Gray is slimming."