I think most fans including myself want C2
Dave Brandon: Genius or Quack?
There has been much debate around our AD and his success (or lack-there-of) in fulfilling his job duties. Many strong, passionate sentiments have come forth on the board. While I love a good “back-and-forth” as much as the next person, there does seem to be a large amount of apples vs. oranges, non sequiturs, straw men, and other nonsensical musings. In an effort to add some clarity to things I created the following Venn diagram. As this very lively discussion continues perhaps you will find this tool useful to better organize your thoughts and make your arguments.
A1 - A place everyone agrees does not exist
A2 - Miami (YTM) circa 1984
A3 - A place fans fear more than death itself
A4 - Brian’s own personal Hell; why $5 is what you will receive from a scalper in exchange for taking his Horror Part II tickets.
B1 - Boise State
B2 - Exists only in Dave Brandon’s Mind; The reason he hired Lochmann
B3 - Slippery Rock at the Big House
B4 - “I am proud to introduce the next director of athletics for Eastern Michigan University, Mr. Hunter Lochmann”
C1 - Oregon
C2 - Alabama
C3 - Duke vs. Arizona Basketball! Prime-time!! For the championship!!! Of the Preseason NIT
Am in total agreement with your assessment of Brandon.
WE WANT [TO BE] BAMA!
I'd say his priorities are 1 Marketing - 2 Winning - 3aTradition - 3bFan Interest. Brandon hasn't been afraid to push the envelope but there are a few inexcusable things: culpability when things fail, change for the sake of change, the gutting and reforming of the AD itself, and the treatment of "the loyal". DB has done some good things - much of which is paid for with Martin's skyboxes - the Big Chill sure was a Wow experience, as was the winter classic - but I think at this point the bad outweighs the good.
There have been quite a few failures under DB - GA seating, price increases, seat cushions, etc. and there has been almost no culpability or remorse. The attitude seems to be "you're dumb for not wanting this great thing we gave you".
Change for the sake of change has lead to "build me up buttercup" over the PA before a critical 3rd down during the Game and ugly uniforms from Adidas.
As Brian said in Chicago, of the 270 or so AD employees only 24 (including Berenson and Hutch) predate Brandon. There's almost no one left who knows what Michigan's AD was like before it was a revenue generating marketing machine.
What's pissed me off the most is the treatment of the loyal. Players are now expected to pay for tickets. People on this board have mentioned how family members who were promised lifetime seats/parking/etc. have to fight to keep them every year. I think this is totally related to my above point - if you're a new AD employee you don't know that players get to come back for life. You know that you want to make money. IMO this will be DB's downfall. Piss off enough former players and he'll lose enough support that he'll be on the way out.
I agree that Brandon's axing of the free tickets for the players is a real negative in the players mind.
However, the AD (whether it be Brandon or Hoke) has done a LOT for the former players that was never done before:
- Football socials with the coaches across the country
- Different gatherings and socials prior to certain games (and in the future, all games)
- Big gatherings with food and alcohol at the Alabama game
- Much better and more frequent communciations with the former players
- Tickets made available to the former players in their own special section (face value)
As much as I don't like a lot of stuff the AD has done, there has been some good things, especially for the former players.
Former players should have their own seating section and free tickets. It just seems like a slap in the face to the alumni of the program to suddenly make them pay for what will amount to a negligible difference in the AD's revenue.
"You gave us 4-5 of the best years of your life. We didnt pay you then and arent gonna pay you now."
I don't love everything Dave has done. I think the commercialism of a night game (UTLIII??? It made sense for the first one, but I can read a schedule...it's a night game) is extremely annoying for example. But I think he's done a pretty good job overall. I just can't wait until we can stop overanalyzing every decision the athletic department makes.
one of the reasons people raise the same complaints time after time is because Brandon makes the same "mistakes" time after time. My biggest complaint is he doesn't hear/listen or if he does he doesn't care. As someone stated above, his attitude is usually I I know what's best for you even if all of you disagree.
Dave Brandon clearly loves one person in this world, and I think he is fond of his family as well.
My biggest issue (maybe aside from his arrogant and condescending personality) is the way he does marketing. I think for a program like Michigan it should be based on tradition and quality, much like Porsche, Tag Heuer, etc. It should be minimal and classy, focusing on the tradition and values associated with the product. He should be emphasizing the awesomeness of our traditional uniforms, the band, the Big House without advertising, etc. The things that make us unique and special, not pandering to the lowest common denominator and trying to make us like everyone else.
And the truly sad part is that once a brand starts to be marketed in a cheap manner, it is very difficut to reverse course and carve out the classy and unique image. For all the successes that people may see in Brandon's efforts, stunts like piped in music and clowniforms have cheapened the whole enterprise.
I believe there's two ways to do it:The Oregon way and the Alabama way. The Oregon way is where you attempt to get fans by having snazzy uniforms and helmets every game, rap and rock replacing the marching band, etc. The Alabama way is wearing your classic traditional uniforms for every game, a bigger emphasis on the band and student lead cheers rather than some player coming on the screen telling the crowd to fire it up. I believe we fit the Alabama model better. Schools like K State, Oklahoma State, Maryland fit the Oregon model.
I wouldn't have thought so.
You pick good coaches. You show the world that Michigan defines classiness. That must be very difficult because no one has done it since Don Canham.
If you're going to have a big ego, fine. Just keep it under wraps. All the narcissism just doesn't do it for me.
And it talks like a duck...
Does anyone have any examples of Brandon's narcissism?
This isn't a challenge, I just had no idea until I read this thread that people thought that. I've never met the man and haven't even seen all that much of him.
I agree that I have no knowledge whether Brandon is narcissitic. He might even be a nice guy. He almost certainly believes he is doing the right things. But we do have some evidence that he is insulated and controlling. From the fact that he has so many employees beholding to him, to his punishment of media that he doesn't like (I'm thinking the Daily and not the effing Free Press), to his dismissive attitude towards the Regents, to watching game film (if true), etc. His heavy hand just seems to be in too many places.
Watching game film is nothing. If I were AD, I'd watch, too. I just love game film, and as a former player, I bet he does as well. Now, if he tries to coach during those sessions, I'd like to slap him.
And I love that he's a dictator with the media. All the good ones control the message. Saban does it by winning and being in the SEC. Hoke does it by offering nothing. Brandon shuts people out. I'm cool with that.
What? He shuts people out because he doesn't want people writing about all the crap that goes on behind closed doors. He flat out lied about the skywriting. And that's just the tip of the iceburg.
Dave Brandon would be a great athletic director for a school like Florida Atlantic, or USF, that has no tradition to speak of. Then his marketing hoopla and "wow factor" stuff would make sense, and might interest those whose curiosity about the program would bring them to a game to try things out.
He'd still have that smug personality, but at least he'd be doing something useful with his time.
I wish I could think of a way that I could annoy him as much as he annoys me. Maybe I should run for Regent.
is going to cause huge problems in 10-20 years when the students of today become the age cohort that buys season tickets for the family.
If they won't go to the games when they are mostly single and living in Ann Arbor, I think it's likely that they won't buy full-price season tickets and take the family time to travel to games.
Of course, that will be someone else's problem.
In the comments of this diary:
People without marketing degrees talk about marketing. Hilarity ensues as Michigan football fans and older alumni express their frustration at their above average football program and an increasingly contemporary gameday experience, scapegoating their athletic director in the process.
I work at a marketing firm in New York City, so I know for a fact that Dave Brandon is branding the University of Michigan well. Whether it be selecting the 'block M' as the official logo, working with pro sports leagues to create high profile events at Michigan Stadium, or simply working to build and maintain facilities for all U of M sports, Dave Brandon is doing more for the University than any Athletic Director before him.
In New York City, University of Michigan's athletic department is known to be the single-best athletic department in the nation for effective marketing and advertisement. It would be nice if all public institutions could follow the lead of the U of M athletic department in staying on top of new marketing and advertising technology, platforms, and approaches; however, they don't have Dave Brandon at the helm.
The fact of the matter is that the football team isn't winning enough. That is not Dave Brandon's responsibility-- his responsibility is to run the athletic department, and he's doing a great job (from a marketing perspective and I have multiple case studies that prove it).
Every commenter's issue in this thread is the quality of the product on the field clouting their experience. The bottom line is that if the football team were winning 10+ games per year, then this diary entry and these comments wouldn't have ever been posted. Unfortunately, Dave Brandon ultimately has little to do with that.
Write a diary that explains just what Dave Brandon is doing for the university that exceeds the likes of Canham, Yost, and others. As an anti-Brandon zealot, I hope to learn more from those that back him so strongly as to make the bold claim "...Dave Brandon is doing more for the University than any Athletic Director before him.".
While you're at it, prove that we would be happy with Brandon if the football team is winning. My anti-expert opinion is that lack of winning is not at all the heart of the problem with Dave Brandon. As of right now, we're both just random dudes on the internet, and our opinions weigh just as heavily.
If only the point of a D-1 Athletic Department at a major research university with nearly a century and a half of athletics history and engrained tradition was to create a brand and make marketing gurus in New York City like you wet themselves with delight.
Unfortunately, the fact that this isn't the point of a D-1 Athletic Department is where Dave Brandon, Hunter Lochmann, and the other 200 marketing geniuses now working at 1000 South State Street have lost the plot.
Here is one general example of Brandon's marketing failure: My giving to the athletic department has decreased 100% since Brandon has taken over. In other words, I have stopped giving to the athletic department and instead directing my giving to a specific LS&A department. I have also dropped my football season tickets and I am less inclinded to attend Michigan sporting events, even though I live in Ann Arbor. I have a lower overall rating of the department during Brandon's tenure. FYI, I couldn't care less about the quality of football. Even if the team won the BCS national title, I refuse to give to the athletic department until Brandon is either fired or forced to resigned.
Being a Michigan alum used to feel like a member of a family. Now, I feel like a low level customer.
When did the football team winning not become Brandon's responsibility? It sure as hell is. He controls the money for top coaches. He is the one that hired Hoke. If Hoke doesn't win, it is on both of them.
Did becoming a self-proclaimed "marketing expert" make you so arrogant, or are you a self-proclaimed "marketing expert" because you are arrogant?
The last thing someone who is a self-proclaimed "marketing expert" should be doing is telling everyone else why they believe what they believe, and how wrong they are to believe it. As a self-proclaimed "marketing expert" you make all self-proclaimed "marketing expert" look like asses. That's bad marketing, and not something expected of a self-proclaimed "marketing expert".
I am not really interested in how well Dave Brandon "markets" the program to self-proclaimed "marketing experts" in NYC. I am interested in how well he does at maintaining those things that make Michigan's athletics what they are: programs dedicated to winning while doing things the "right way" as regards athletes (current and past) and fans. Impressing self-proclaimed "marketing experts" in NYC isn't relevant to that.
I'm guessing most truly successful marketing experts don't ignore the fact that their most loyal customers dislike the direction of the brand. I thought every marketer learned that with New Coke. Maybe he's doing great "by the book" branding, but that's sort of the problem - Michigan is unique and many of the most loyal fans don't feel that his new direction for the Michigan brand reflects that. You can't market Michigan the same way you market a shoe brand or a minor league baseball team.
More than anything else, what bugs me about Brandon is that he's always shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, when fans get grumpy about stuff like seat cushions, skywriting, no band in Texas, and giant noodles. Seems to suggest he's either just arrogant as hell, or a "genius" at creating a generic brand with no sense of how to manage/refresh an already unique and successful one.
...agency we should just kill this thread now. Is that the same New York City where 75% of the seats behind home plate at Yankee games (one of the world's iconic brands) sit empty every game?
The problem with looking at this through the marketing lens is that it de-personalizes what Michigan is to most of the faithful. Marketers see us as consumers, we're not, we're fans. Fans as in fanatical, fans as in fantastic. We don't consume Michigan football we assimilate it. The marketing aspect reduces the role of the fan to a piece of data. I'd add that the hyper analysis afforded by the internet doesn't help the situation. Breaking down every element of the program to a point of judgement is devisive by nature.
United we stand divide we fall.
The beauty of Canhamland is that it is united.
This all reminds me of the ESPN model, Colin Cowherd specifically paints fans as stupid for following their hearts, according to the marketing model we should all be fans of the National Champion every year, otherwise we picked wrong-- we're losers. The reality is that following a football program is not about an annual result. It's the past present and future. Today's "product" is more than what comes out on the score board on any given day-- it includes hopes and dreams. Granted winning helps. At Michigan, fans have never had the opportunity to learn how to lose for long stretches, our tradition is winning. Other teams-- look at the Lions, are able to survive even with a legacy as losers. The pre- 1970 Pittsburgh Steelers. The New Orleans Saints. Those teams survived because the core fans viewed the team as something to root for, becuase of their hope for success. The TEAM (not the product) becomes a part of one's identity.
After the criticism of Michigan's UTL3 jerseys, i noted that Minnesota has come up with their uniform marketing strategy: an alternative helmet. See below:
Made more money than just about this entire collective board. I won't go so far as to say genius but he is a man of great success. The only decisions I question is the uniforms and maybe piped in music anything beyond that is nitpicking. Those two issues are actually nitpicking as well. Overall, he has been a solid AD.
Oh, I didn't know we were talking about who's "made more money." See, I (and others here, I imagine) thought we were talking about how the Athletic Director of our nonprofit University was doing at his job. I couldn't care less how much money DB made for Bain Capital and Domino's. I DO care (and I think I speak for most of the board) about his performance as AD, which is a different job, and is in fact the one he currently holds.
TL;DR: Sweet red herring, Added a lot.