I have to admit, I'm a bit mystified by the Buffalo Bills' 2012 marketing campaign. For those who haven't seen, heard, or otherwise had the pleasure to experience the team's version of the hype for the upcoming season, the slogan is: "We don't measure sound in decibels, we measure it in touchdowns! Lead the charge!"
OK, I don't mean to give the advertising gurus on One Bills Drive a hard time here, but really? "Lead the charge," has been around for years, I want to believe, but the first part of the slogan, to me, is, well . . . idiotic. Yes, idiotic. The team went 6-10 last year. People who were at the last four home games will tell you the only thing they measure was bad or meaningless football and a loss. By the time only 45,000 in paid attendance saw the Bills hang 40 on Tim Tebow's Denver Broncos, the Bills' bean counters weren't measuring anything besides lost revenue.The thing that bothers me most about the slogan is that I think it's out of touch with the fan experience. Of course, the stadium explodes after an important score, but there's been far too few important scores in the stadium in the past decade, and I don't think it's woven as deeply into the fabric of the team as when the defense is on the field.
For my money, the sound inside the stadium is most intense when the team is on defense. Especially on third downs in close games, the place turns into Thunderdome. Historically, the team visibly draws energy from the home crowd, and I always think of Bruce Smith's arm flaps to exhort the crowd into anarchy. The combination of weather and a frenzied bowl of Bills' fans acting like their entire life depends on the next play defines the Bills' home field advantage.
Noise doesn't matter after touchdowns, but during the game it can change a game.
For years the Bills have desperately tried to sell a mediocre product to a fan base desperate to hope for better. Who remembers the J.P. Losman billboards, encouraging us to witness the emergence of the next star, only to see the billboard replaced within a year with Trent Edwards, carrying the same promise?
What's confounding to me is that this year, of all years, is the year to market the defense. With Marcell Dareus in a position to break out next to the established Kyle Williams, flanked by ends on both sides capable of 10+ sacks, the Bills have a defensive identity they haven't had since Takeo Spikes was the mike man. Kelvin Sheppard is promising, Nick Barnett is coming off a strong rebound year. And the defensive backfield is a mix between the headiness of George Wilson and the promising athletic ability of Stephon Gilmore, Aaron Williams, and Da'Norris Searcy.
Here's my suggestion for the 2012 Bills based on my zero years of experience in advertising but my thirty years of experience in being sold stuff, with a nod to the Ronnettes. "Third Down, Wall of Sound. Lead the Charge!"
Would love to hear some of your slogan suggestions . . .