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10/05/2011 - 4:46pm An entertainment marketing POV is more apt here

First, nice thread.  Interesting topic and good contributions from all angles.  

I have a little problem above with the definition of "competition" in this scenario.  If we define Michigan Football as a product for the purposes of understanding a marketer/Brandon's perspective, it's vital to be specific about the type of product we're defining it as.  Michigan Football is not a physical good like used cars or a service like pest removal so you can't use the same definition of competition as you would for those products.  

Michigan Football is an entertainment product and the competition in entertainment is anything else vying for the time and attention of the customer.  In other words, TV shows don't just compete with other TV shows, they also compete with movies, books, video games, Facebook, cooking classes, men's over 40 ultimate frisbee leagues and even non-entertainment activities like lawncare and actually paying attention to your kids.  

In other words, Michigan Football's competition is not strictly other college football programs.  Which is why the argument that UM fans are not the customers because they won't become Purdue fans is so wrongheaded.  

No, Michigan Football fans won't cheer for another team if they become unsatisfied with the product.  But they will stop watching, stop buying merchandise, stop buying tickets and generally stop NOT doing whatever it is they would otherwise be doing at noon on Saturdays.  It may take a long time for that to happen because of how loyal the customer base is, but if they are unsatisfied it will happen.  

If you were alive in the 70s you might remember a time when a little show called Happy Days dominated the competition.  It was more than a show, it was a ritual.  One that millions of families across the nation probably could never imagine not going through every Tuesday night.  When the show lost those loyal viewers and plummeted in the ratings entertainment professionals wanted to know why.  They eventually traced the demise of the show to a single moment when Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzerelli went waterskiing in a leather jacket and daringly vaulted over a shark.  That shark's name?  Pop Evil.

True story.


03/24/2011 - 11:02am I did some time in the UP

Back in the 80s I did a stretch in the Soo (where it was still the 70s) and one of the hot topics of discussion in the ice fishing shacks and unemployment lines (this was pre-Indian Gaming Act of 1986) was whether the UP should secede and become the 51st state, which would be called "Superior."

As a 11-year-old newb from Massachusetts with no understanding of the relationship between the Dong and the MItten I remember asking one of my hockey coaches why the UP wanted to secede.  He said-- and this is a genuine quote-- "So we can do things our way."  

I had absolutely no idea what that meant but from the way he said it I figured I should pretend I did.  He seemed to really appreciate that.

03/11/2011 - 8:30pm Bear-hating

I love that bear!  He hates cruise ships!  He hates hockey arenas in East Lansing and throughout Ohio!  He hates Dianetics!  He hates Earth!  As previously discussed he is at least indifferent to the fate of his wing-bears!  He's a polar nihilist!  He believes in nothing!

02/03/2011 - 12:37pm Meme me

We need to put the phrase "How long to tranform?"* to work immediately.

***The original (and much more intriguing) headline for this post was "How long to Tranform".  Typo fixed, fun over.

01/30/2011 - 6:58pm Hoke smash!

Good stuff, man.  I know it won't please the strict constructionists of the Marvel universe, but any chance of a blue Incredible Hoke gif?

01/24/2011 - 11:08am Yeah

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.  He hates North American Scum so it's Time to Get Away because that bear is Never As Tired as When He's Waking Up.

01/23/2011 - 8:17pm Thanks

My bad.  Shoulda embedded.  I guess I didn't expect it to hang around on front page's new diary rail longer than Brian's hockey preview w/ the video embed.

01/22/2011 - 11:29am That is a huge stack of pancakes

Great share, JohnVand.  Thx.  I don't know what the greatest guitar solo of all time is, but I feel confident saying that if he felt like it, Prince could play the sh*t out of it.  

01/22/2011 - 11:06am Indeed it is

A metaphor for AWESOME.

01/22/2011 - 11:01am You, sir, are a man who "gets it."

I don't know what exactly "it" is, but you do.  I think I may actually get "it" thanks to you and Seth9.  Combining your adamantine logic on this--

Wingman-Bear may not have taken the fat one.

-- with a top notch bit of analysis from Seth9--

For instance, while he does destroy the bastions of evil that are Michigan State and Ohio State, his decision to destroy a markedly less offensive Miami is morally questionable, particularly when he leaves an institution like Notre Dame left standing.

-- makes me realize that perhaps it was the wingmen-bears duty to take out Notre Dame (and Freakbass) and it was only because they failed to fulfill their mission objective that lead bear had to "nuke it from space"  because it is, after all, "the only way to be sure."

01/22/2011 - 12:21am Video = Miyagi, Me = Daniel-san

I think you have a very good point.  Greatness really is about loneliness when it comes right down to it.  There's no room for wing-bears on that gold medal podium.  (Okay, maybe if your Mike Eruzione you can find a way, but he's an outlier...) We paint our faces and scream "We're number One!" without a thought of what a solitary existence we would lead if we really were number one.  

This is what I meant about that sense you get while watching the video that you are in the hands of a true master storyteller. Yes, it SEEMS more random than a pile of schizophrenia soaked in Tourette's sauce, but really, it's only because you have not found the keys to decipher its order.

01/21/2011 - 7:53pm That bear

I love that video too.  It's like watching a Kurosawa or a Kubrick film.  Or a vintage Chuck Barris show.  You just know you're in the hands of a master.  I mean, every time I watch this video-- and I have watched it many, many times-- I have a new question about the bear's motivation.  

Obviously I get the motivation behind the inciting incident in the opening sequence. He's pissed about how global warming, caused by western industrialized nations'  gluttonous appetite for self-gratification, as represented by the icebreaking Carnival cruise ship, has upended the nature's cycle by disturbing his annual iceberg-encased hibernation.  He reacts on instinct, as any giant mutant electro ice bear would: by summoning his lighting stick and wreaking complete destruction upon the ship.

And, though it took me a a couple of repeat viewings, I feel like I get why he takes things to the next level by scrambling his fellow giant mutant electro ice bear wingmen into the giant mutant ice bear sized F-16 fighters.  Oh the delicious irony!  Man's hubris ("Sure we'll build you some giant mutant ice bear fighter jets!  What could go wrong?") returns to  deliver a hellfire apocalypse upon those well-established symbols of human excess:  the college hockey arena.

And sure, I totally understand why the lead ice bear finds it necessary to nuke Earth in order to save Earth.  This is the human condition distilled.  Only through death do we truly know life.

But what I simply can't figure out is why he doesn't give his ice bear wingmen a head's up on the forthcoming planetary destruction.  What did they do to deserve that?  They were his wingmen-bears, man!  I know from a whole bunch of Jerry Bruckheimer movies that you don't leave your wingman-bear.  And you definitely don't NUKE your wingman-bear.  I mean, unless they specifically say: "Forget about me, do you hear?  I'm a gonner,bra.  You nuke this rock!"

This is not to say that there isn't a very good reason the filmmaker made this choice, because I know there is.  I just don't get it.  


01/20/2011 - 11:50am Establish a virtual BTHC first?

I love hockey.  Played it my whole life.  Went to camp at Lake Superior State every summer for 5 years (and if you've ever been to the Soo, you know you only voluntarily spend time if it's really important) but anyone who follows college hockey has to know that to the non-hockey maniac world it occupies the shaky  ground between big time athletics and cult activity.  My point is, if you want to tinker with it and improve it you should proceed with caution unless you want to fall behind women's soccer fan support (again).

So can we move towards an eventual, legit, 8-10 team BTHC without ripping the guts out of college hockey as we know it?  Let's face it, extracting the biggest name brand schools* would not only cripple two conferences in a sport that always seems to be struggling to get over the hump financially, but it would create a new conference that even the biggest Big Ten fan would have to admit was not a guaranteed success.  Why?  Because even with TV money, a Big Ten hockey conference would struggle to grow into a true Big Ten athletic conference.  Hockey isn't cross country or lacrosse**.  You need fans in hockey-- real asses in real seats every weekend-- to get even marginal recruits, which is the only way you'll compete.  Of course, competing is the only way you'll get even better recruits and start winning which is, in turn, the only way you'll fill even the tiniest hockey barn you can afford to rent/build.  My point here is that establishing a legit program that can even suck at the Div. 1 level can take years.  

Which brings me back to my original question.  Why not establish a virtual Big Ten Conference first?  One that only requires non conference scheduling changes and shows up on winter weekends on the Big Ten Network?  If the problem is resistance from CCHA/WCHA officials, well, isn't a non destructive, TV shadow conference (that can cut you in on TV $ and promote the sport) better than the outright gutting of your conferences? 

The bonus here is that you can build momentum for the eventual establishment of the real thing slowly while providing time and revenue for the Penn States and Illinoises to build legit programs.

*I mean this in a general Div 1 sports way, not a hockey specific way.  

**For the record I ran cross country and played hockey and lacrosse in high school, so don't take this as a dump on any of these great sports.

01/18/2011 - 4:08pm Damn that'd be cool

I believe Ed Reed has two years of college eligibility left so let's get moving on a really convincing NCAA appeal so we're ready to go by the time he retires.

01/17/2011 - 9:14pm The Plus

The plus got plenty of use (my freshman year you could buy cigarettes at the East Quad snack window) but the entree part, well, that was a one way ticket to a house of monochromatic culinary horrors.

01/17/2011 - 8:28pm More like this...

01/17/2011 - 7:52pm Musta hit a nerve

So are you one of those MST3K fans who gets annoyed when they talk during the movies? 

01/17/2011 - 7:46pm No troll, homeslice

Longtime reader and fan o' the blog.  I think I still have my entree plus card somewhere if you need to see some proof of alumni-ship.

01/17/2011 - 7:23pm Maybe it was too soon?

Or possibly too late.  Either way I feel just terrible about making light of such a serious topic. God, I hope no recruits see this...

01/17/2011 - 11:47am Orobs is right

Let's sell our MGoPoints on eBay and use the cash to buy a url like "" and then only post really flattering material about Brady Hoke (example: "he bakes cupcakes from scratch for all recruits-- even the three stars!") , Dave Brandon (example: "It was his idea to double the thickness of pepperoni slices and also to stop funneling Dominos corporate profits into radical right to life organizations!", the University (example: "OMG!  I've never gotten laid so easily and by so many smoking hot women than when I was a freshman at U of M-- and don't get me started on how potent, plentiful and inexpensive the weed is!"  and Ann Arbor in general ("If there's a place with more ample free parking I'd like to know!).  The recruits will totally go for it!  They're just stupid kids with no ability to discern e-shite from e-shinola!  Oh boy this is gonna be GREAT!

01/13/2011 - 11:42am Facebook's policy

Is slippery-- and they are certainly poised to do great evil-- but they do not use people's posted material in this way.  See full explanation below.

01/13/2011 - 11:38am I work in advertising and...

... my guess is that the creatives (using the term loosely) who did the LowerMyBills ad-- they may have been in house or cheap subcontractor-- just pulled your friend's picture because it didn't cost them anything to use.  It's possible it was an honest mistake b/c sometimes unlicensed images show up on free stock photo sites and are tagged as "public domain."  But most likely they knew it wasn't licensed and just didn't give a crap b/c people rarely complain.

Facebook's privacy policy is purposefully Inception-esque but, despite retaining some right to use material posted, they don't have any history of taking user's material and selling/renting to other companies.  The one exception to this comes within Facebook's pages, where they will stick your friends' (who don't have privacy settings properly adjusted) photos in ads directed at you like: "These friends have all signed up for free lobotomies-- don't get left out of the fun!"

My advice is to have your friend contact LowerMyBills and explain the situ.  They should resolve it ASAP.  If they don't, get a lawyer and make some money of the pricks.

01/12/2011 - 6:15pm MI Famiglia!

Grazie, signore.  I've been pushing the Brady-Bacala connection as well.  See post below.

01/12/2011 - 6:12pm I said it before and...

... I'll say it again: Brady Bacala.

01/12/2011 - 4:18pm Grazie...

... signore.

01/12/2011 - 11:58am Dead Ringer...

... for The Sopranos Bobby Bacala. 

01/09/2011 - 7:47pm A nice dream, but

A nice dream, but more realistically I think we will be welcoming Brady Bacala back to the Michigan Familia.

01/09/2011 - 7:33pm One neg's

"One neg's as good as a wink to a blind bat."

- S.A. Nomore

01/08/2011 - 6:33pm Gruden's TOTALLY coming to UM

Oh, and also Jim Delany has just updated the Big Ten division names to the Funktastic Division and Crumbelievable Division.  And also touchdowns will henceforth be referred to as "sweet sticks," sacks will be called "bedazzles" and timeouts will be known as "me moments."

01/08/2011 - 2:20pm Meanwhile, outside the Miles' home...

Mrs. Miles: "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy... Now f--k off!"