Uninspired marketing from XM at Yankee Stadium

xmFor as long as I've been subscribed to Bob Lefsetz's newsletter, he has lauded XM Satellite Radio's programming and decried pretty much everything else about their business -- especially their marketing. I've always just shrugged it off because I'm largely unaware of XM's marketing campaigns, which considering my age and interests, is probably exactly Bob's point. But I went to a Yankees game on July 3rd and saw something between innings that left me absolutely dumbfounded.

The promo goes as follows. XM wants to play a song by the popular rock and roll band U2. But what song? It's so hard to choose! Wait, let's get the Yankees to help us! Here's the deal, sluggers: You can choose from either "I Will Follow," "Where the Streets Have No Name," or "Beautiful Day." Got that?

A-Rod wants to hear "I Will Follow." Oh, but Jeter wants to hear "Where the Streets Have No Name!" Will those two ever agree on anything!?!? And now Johnny Damon wants to hear "Beautiful Day." Man, this one's going to be too close to call!

So they go through about 10 players each voting for the U2 song they want to hear the most. And the winner is "Beautiful Day" (REALLY!?! -Ed.). The audience, all surely as enraptured as I, is treated to about 60 seconds of muffled, loudspeaker-distorted mediocrity.

I probably don't need to waste the pixels telling you all the reasons this sucks as a promo, but I will anyway.
  1. It's utterly forgettable. They put members of the team up on the JumboTron between every inning to tell you to watch out for foul balls, or to teach you how to say "stadium" in Japanese.

    I once worked for a radio station that hired XM guru Lee Abrams as a consultant, and he stood up in front of all of us and told us this story about a marketing stunt he once did with a "Hit This Plane and WIN" flyover of the MLB All-Star game in San Francisco. Clearly Lee wasn't in the room when they cooked this turkey up.

  2. Everyone plays U2. Everyone from the tiniest basement webcaster (may he rest in peace) to the lamest terrestrial conglomerate. And they all play those same overplayed tracks! If you want to convince me to pay good money every month for the privilege of listening to your radio service, it's not going to be because you play the most overexposed tracks by perhaps the planet's most ubiquitous band. I can hear that anywhere for free.

    I can't stress enough how impossible it is as a radio station to brand yourself "The U2 Station," and how misguided attempts to do so are. Hell, why don't you promise to play me "Stairway to Heaven" every 3 hours, too?

  3. Everyone in that stadium shares a common interest, but it's not U2. You don't need to spend much time in The Bronx to know that it's a mixed crowd. Shit, you get the impression half the players in the promo aren't even familiar with the songs they're voting for. How else do you explain them choosing "Beautiful Day" over "Where the Streets Have No Name?"

    Sure, a lot of people like U2. But do you know what EVERYONE in that stadium likes? BASEBALL!!! And XM HAS BASEBALL! You can listen to every major league game on XM! That's something that XM has that nobody else has! Don't you think anyone in Yankee Stadium would be interested in knowing that? I can guarantee to you that not all of them do.
So shame on you, XM Marketing team. You have accomplished nothing other than to insult real music fans with banal crap, leave baseball fans ignorant of a service XM offers that they might be interested in, and waste a lot of money on an uninspired, positively FM promotion. Shame on you.

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