Nats Spots, Dots and Dogs
Today's column looks at how the Washington Nationals hope to revive the public's excitement over baseball's return now that Major League Baseball and the D.C. Council are apparently finished with their efforts to put political squabbling front and center.
If you'd like to see the Nats' new TV ads, we've put them up on the site here ("Believer") and here ("Signs") and here ("Food")--unless you're lucky enough to have Starpower or Direct TV, you won't be seeing many Nats games on TV this year, and these ads are placed primarily during game coverage, on the theory that folks watching the game on TV are the most likely to come on out to the ballpark. (Interestingly, the Nationals marketing people tell me they have very little interest or confidence in the ability of local TV to sell tickets; they're reserving their advertising dollars instead primarily for radio, print and bus ads.)
I like the Believer spot best--sorry, I guess I'm a bit of a sap for that stuff. The Signs spot is cute, and the marketing folks told me that they indeed did try at first to have the kid's sign say "Phillies Suck," but apparently there are still a few folks in the advertising and sports businesses who have a modicum of taste, so they dialed it back to "Phillies Bite." For making such distinctions are the big salaries paid.
The one spot that left me a bit flat--well, maybe even a little flabbergasted (can you really be a little bit flabbergasted?)--was the one touting the food at RFK.
Good news: Aramark, the caterer that has the unenviable task of dealing with RFK's tiny, decrepit and utterly inadequate kitchens and other facilities, is adding a couple of local food offerings, notably Red Hot and Blue Barbeque, which will be available on the 300 level of the ballpark.
Bad news: The demise of Foggy Bottom Ale and its parent, the local brewmaster Old Heurich, means there won't be any local beer at the ballpark. Instead, folks who went to Friday's exhibition game at RFK tell me that Aramark was pouring Miller Lite at the old Foggy Bottom pub on the lower level. Sad.
Aramark is promising a bunch of other new stuff, including Boardwalk Fries, something called Hounds by the Pound, an odd program in which they will serve hot dogs in the manner of the visiting team's town (Vienna dogs when the Cubs come in, chili dogs when the Reds are here, etc.) and--I'll believe it when I see it--ice cream. It's Edy's, which is pretty awful stuff, but on a hot night, any ice cream would be a huge improvement over last season's fiasco.
You may recall that the Nats and Aramark spent last summer arguing that Dippin Dots are ice cream. (Soylent Green is people.) I responded that the Dots are actually plastic pellets ingeniously designed to masquerade as a frozen dessert. Whereupon I received a bullet from Dippin Dots corporate HQ alerting me that their product is indeed dairy-based and not plastic (full text of that glorious email on the jump). Do they offer Remedial Humor courses in business school these days? If not, maybe we've finally found the mid-career move for Joel and Gene when the web finally sends the Dead Trees Edition to the Great Recycling Bin Beyond.
Anyway, here's Aramark's promise of food improvements for this season at the Bobby. And here, for comparison, is what the same company offers at Camden Yards up the road in Bawlmer.
I can't wait to hear the vendors shouting "Paninis! Getcher lightly toasted paninis heah!"
Oh, wait, I forgot. The vendors do just liquids and a couple of basics. Guess we have to wait for the new stadium to get the rest. Play ball!
Here's that email the good folks at Dippin Dots sent last summer.
As your father might ask you, was that really necessary? Not being a regular to your blog I don't know how to read your humor, but, if you meant to be funny surely you can do better. We're a relatively small ice cream company in a great big dairy world...but we make a pretty darn good ice cream. Given the power of your medium (you're the Washington Post for goodness sake), you should know how harmful a statement like that can be. Would you say "Coke is just motor oil ingeniously reengineered to have some flavor and texture of a carbonated beverage."? Of course not.
If we want an innaccurate and harmful message placed in the Washington Post, please wait until we buy it ourselves.
Corporate Communications Director
Dippin' Dots, Inc."
By Marc Fisher |
April 6, 2006; 6:04 AM ET
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