Dave Brandon's cluelessness starts with thinking he's some kind of marketing whiz. He isn't.
He's got one of the most intelligent student bodies in the conference, and he sends out "Superfan" emails? Really? He couldn't come up with anything less juvenile, or less obvious, with that marketing brain trust he hired?
What he imagines people want, and what people actually want, are two different things.
Brandon imagined that Michigan fans were hungry to see Michigan get revenge on App State. Well, seven years has passed, and no one really cares. Brandon imagined that we'd love traveling to Dallas to get our butts handed to us at Jerryworld. He imagined that students would come out in droves to get first come, first served seating. He imagined that playing MSU away two years in a row wouldn't be a problem, and that a year without either MSU or OSU on the schedule wouldn't hurt attendance. He imagined that Brady Hoke would be a Bo-like hire, despite all evidence to the contrary that was there for anyone to see based on the man's win/loss record.
"“I have a little experience in branding,” he boasted to reporters the other day in Detroit. “In the world of branding, you build what’s called brand equity. If you look at the Big Ten, you have brand equity that’s built over decades and decades and decades."
Funny thing about branding, Brandon, it's very easy to devalue the brand with foolish shenanigans. It can happen quickly when execs become arrogant and think they know better what their customers want than the customers do. That's what happened, for example, with the US car companies who felt that they could always dictate to their customers, instead of listen to them.
2014 will showcase a team struggling to regain its lost footing, with a relatively boring schedule, and a disinterested and somewhat alienated student fan base that is being overcharged for the experience. No wonder there will be empty seats.
And this has nothing to do with Brandon, since the decision was made before his turn at the helm, but why does a public university that is supposed to be a symbol of equal opportunity, collegiality, and whatever else all that entails, have a stadium with enormously expensive luxury boxes at all? How does that jibe with the university's mission?
Having been in luxury boxes for professional functions on many occasions (though not at UM), I can say that it's the absolute worst way to see a football game, and I'm willing to bet that unlike the rest of the stadium, the luxury boxes aren't "dry" and that alchohol is served freely. What the elitiists prohibit for the masses and the great unwashed student body they liberally consume for themselves.