Advertising and promotional work are tricky things.
There has to be a balance between boosting the product you’re trying to sell in a way that makes it desirable for the customer and at the same time you can’t really insult their intelligence too much. At a certain point, you’re trying to trick your clientele to giving their “hard-earned” money to you for a service or product that you’ve convinced them they want or need. But transparency can still be a tactic used while trying to trick your potential customers.
As many Wolves fans have seen by now, there was an open letter to the fans in the Monday edition of the Star Tribune. And the strategy was something that wasn’t all that surprising and yet still refreshing to see. The Wolves front office took a page out of Eminem’s character in the movie 8 Mile to promote themselves as a necessary part of Wolves’ fans lives.
They criticized themselves and essentially brought certain criticisms of the organization and rebuilding plan to light before it could be used against them. It was just like the final rap battle in 8 Mile. Eminem’s character wins the competition by ripping on himself throughout the freestyle (warning: language NSFW). It’s essentially a version of reverse psychology to get you to let your guard down while they try to throw ticket package options your way.
But how much do you believe the message they’re giving you? Do you buy into the plan and the way it’s being executed? What about how they shaped their message in describing the players on their team?
The plan is a curious one because while they’ve done exactly what they claim they have wanted to do the entire time (younger, faster, more athletic), we don’t know that the team is truly any better than it was in the first place. Maybe there is more unknown with the future of how these players could develop and therefore it’s easy to think, “Sure, they could be better.” At the same time there is still too much confusion of how they get a #1 guy on this roster and how these pieces fit into the triangle offense.
While it’s unfair to criticize the EVERY move made by David Kahn simply because it’s him (even I’ll admit he’s done some good stuff in the year-plus he’s been in charge), it’s also ridiculous to defend him just because people are making fun of your team all the time. The justification of the Darko contract is baffling to me. Just because other teams spent money more irresponsibly on big men than the Wolves did doesn’t mean the contract is a valid move towards rebuilding. The execution of the plan is just as confusing as the figuring out how all of the pieces fit into the halfcourt system. It doesn’t mean that neither will work out but to say, “we know we’ve turned the corner” is a weird way to shape the sales pitch being given to Wolves fans in this letter.
The overall context of the message was well crafted and at the same time a bit of a head-scratcher. They opened with poking fun at themselves, stating the plan they believe in, being brutally honest about the present likelihood of success and describing the team and then ending it with an air of confidence before one more bout of humor. The letter was very well laid out and symmetric in its approach. But it was confusing how they could go 518 words of an organizational state of the union address with only mentioning the best player on the team as “one of the best outlet passers in the game.”
This was really the only weird/off-putting thing I took from the letter. Kevin Love is/should be the face of this franchise. I think you can actually sell tickets with him. He just became a cult hero of the basketball-following world during the FIBA World Championships and he gets a slight blurb. He’s by far the best player on the team and yet gets less praise attributed to him than the adolescent years of Michael Beasley received. Maybe I’m just nitpicking this point but I found it to be really odd and disheartening.
Other than that, the Wolves are telling the NBA world and more importantly Wolves fans to take a look into the glass house before they throw stones at it. They’re being fairly open and honest about their feeling of where the franchise is headed. And they’re even able to poke fun at themselves while doing it in a clever way to push tickets.
“Enough talk. It’s time to play.
Oh, wait. We forgot to talk about Rubio.
Next time. “
Way to go out on a high note.