Sunday, July 11, 2010

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Decision

Like a spectacular flaming car wreck, I cannot turn my eyes away from the LeBron James debacle. The fact that he left Cleveland and a 200 Gazillion Dollar Contact to go to Miami and take a 190 Gazillion Dollar Contract is not really surprising. If I could go play with my buddies in Miami, I'd probably go too. The awesome thing has been what a public relations and marketing fiasco this has been from the word "go". You want to know what happens when you and your buddies try to live out "Entourage" in the real world? This. This is what happens. You go from a generally well liked guy to the biggest asshole in the planet in one quick hour long infomercial.

Let's get into that ill conceived paid program on ESPN to announce "The Decision" (which had actually been reached a couple years ago when Wade/Bosh/James played together on Team USA). How ESPN, which alleges itself to be somewhat of a "news" organization, allowed James to purchase primetime and present the whole thing as regular ESPN SportsCenter type programming is mind bending. That would be like if CBS News let BP put on the Monday night news talking about how this pesky oil spill was not their fault and Katie Couric smiled and nodded her head to each lie urging the bullshit to continue under the guise of it being real reporting. How do you have LeBron sitting there and not ask if he tanked the Playoffs as it appears now to even the most casual observer? How do you not remark on the fact that LeBron never even responded to the Cavs directly, and instead had one of his bloodsucker friends call to say "thanks but no thanks"? Most importantly, how do you not ask him why he keeps referring to himself in third person?

"Well, at the end of the day LeBron James has to do what is best for LeBron James..."

"Excuse me. I'm confused. You just said LeBron James has to do what is best for LeBron James. Aren't you LeBron James?" Now, how great would that have been?

So let's say ESPN made some money off of this thing, and they no longer have a soul. No big deal. When one of your biggest personalities is Chris Berman, it's not like we're talking about the New York Times here. They did it for the money and the ratings. So, why did LeBron do it? Who the hell is advising this guy? LRMR Marketing: Innovative Marketing and Branding, that's who! Who is this? His high school buddy Maverick Carter, or just like "E" in Entourage! I checked out their typo laden website and discovered an awesome collection of marketing buzzwords and cliches. No doubt, this is the person you want to handle "leveraging relationships and consumer insight to conceive and deploy innovative marketing initiatives". This is actually on their website. Isn't that great? How many times do you think the copy writer had to change that to make it sound more important? Go to the site. It's really funny. "Guys In Over Their Heads Marketing" would have been a better company name, but the letterhead is already printed, so what can you do now?

These idiots came up with this plan. "OK LeBron... Here's what we're going to do. First we're going to build up the hype about where you are going by bringing teams into town to make pointless presentations. Then we're going to go on live TV on ESPN and call it The Decision. Nobody will draw a parallel to The Drive, The Fumble, or The Shot. Don't worry about that. We'll throw people off the track of thinking this is just an infomercial by coming up with some bullshit charity angle. Boys Clubs? That might be great. We'll throw some kids on the set behind you, and toss them some money for some new ping pong tables. We'll call it a "portion of the proceeds". Then you tell everyone you are taking "your talents" to South Beach. That will be great. It will reinforce The Brand. The network will show the split screen crowd reaction shots. Miami going crazy, New York/Chicago pissed, and Cleveland with their hearts ripped out. You better have your shit out of your house, because you can NEVER go home again after fucking those people over on national TV. Then we'll fly to Miami, break out the Cristal, and party our asses off. Sound good?"

LeBron has corporate sponsorship deals with Nike, McDonalds, Sprite (Coca-Cola owned brand), Vitamin Water, Bubblicious, and State Farm. Don't you think it's telling that in this one hour ratings guaranteed program, only Vitamin Water bought time? You think Nike wants anything to do with their brand next to this? Maybe they can do a Tiger Woods/LeBron ad. Each one of these brands was approached by LeBron's people to buy time, and sponsorships weeks ago for this show. You know that Nike and probably McDonald's sent their top marketing people in to try and talk these idiots out of this. These companies have invested millions in The Good Guy LeBron, not The Asshole LeBron. For example, you'll notice that Lindsay Lohan doesn't do many endorsement deals these days. How would you like to have been the guy in charge of Sports Marketing at McDonald's last week? "Yeah, we got the proposal for LeBron's Decision TV special. It sounds great guys, it really does, but are you sure about this? You are? Ummm... OK.... Well, we'd love to be in it, but we just don't have any current creative ready to air. Yes, if only we had more lead time on this. Sorry, but we're going to have to pass. Yes, let's talk next week. Good luck on the show! I'm sure it will be just great!"

If you wanted to have fucked this thing up any further, it's hard to think of how you could do it. Maybe LeBron comes out to the set in a Nazi SS uniform? That would have been worse I guess. I'll tell you what, the best idea I heard was from a friend of mine that suggested the one hour "Decision" special be like one of those 1970s TV variety shows. LeBron would come out on set and sing a duet with Marie Osmond as an opener. Then maybe some sketch comedy with Tim Conway doing a "Dorf" bit with LeBron on a basketball court. Wrap it up with the Miami team change news, and then Gloria Estefan comes out and belts out a tune while LeBron claps along smiling away. It had to have worked out better than what he did.


At July 12, 2010 at 12:02:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

After a storm comes a calm...................................................................

At July 12, 2010 at 10:06:00 AM EDT , Blogger Raquel's World said...

Yeah - Im kinda over the whole LeBron thing

At July 14, 2010 at 3:51:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...



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