POST 33 “Don’t Play With Your Food, Honey”

Any civilized kid was told at least once to “not play with your food.” That rule seems standard, known, and most people really don’t have a problem with that rule. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not trying to stir up trouble, but I would like to point out there really is no decent reason for this rule besides the fact that doing so is “rude,” “slobbish,” and “improper.” Playing with your food doesn’t cause you any danger and it certainly won’t kill you (unless you’re playing w/ some pretty crazy food….) So who decided that this was impolite? I’m not sure, but all rules for being civilized and proper are just rules that have been around forever and we follow them because society tells us that’s best.

Well MLS doesn’t care about society’s silly rules. MLS is the cool babysitter that says “what the heck, why NOT play with your food.” MLS allows you to be deviant. MLS gets that society’s rules are silly and they fully embrace nonconformity. Go out and play with your food, go break some rules. MLS gets it.

So my idea for this post was pretty specific- playing with your food is an act of non-conformity in the sense that it’s something society asks and expects you not to do. I chose to create an MLS logo and soccer ball to create a direct association with MLS. If a viewer looks at an image of a flower made out of food they’re probably not going to think of MLS. That could address the idea of nonconformity, which would represent MLS’s logo, but for the sake of being direct and  not confusing, I chose to make a soccer ball and the logo.  I get that it’s really not THAT exciting of an idea to make a logo out of food- it’s been done before. However, I think that tying in how playing with your food is an act of nonconformity pretty obviously embraces MLS’s brand. I also think that playing with your food is a pretty innocent, silly, and relatable way to not conform. It’s light and fun, which are qualities that attract to many.

 

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POST 32- Something I Love

One thing I love is making birthday cards for my friends. I love creating things and collaging, so friend/family birthdays are a great excuse for me to do what I love. My first goal when making these cards is to get personal. I spend a decent amount of time on the cards. Half of that time is spent brainstorming  the birthday girl/boy’s favorite things and reminiscing on personal experiences I shared with that person. This often gets me to go through old photos or stalk that person online. Doing this is really fun, and it’s really great to remember all the fun times you had!

Here’s a few examples:

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Here’s a birthday card I made for a really good pal, Victoria, when I was 14 and she was turning 15. It didn’t take me long to find some subject material for this card. We had always found the child toy, Boohbahs very intriguing and just a bit before her birthday, Victoria and I had stumbled up a homemade youtube Boohbah horror film. It was terrifying and awesome and since this was a great shared experience for us, I thought making a Boohbah themed b-day card would be a good idea. To make it even more personal, I found a funny childhood photo of her and cropped it on to a boohbah’s face.

(If you have a decent amount of time to waste, check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2Vdihy21G4 )

FullSizeRender (30)This one has a pretty simple explanation. I made this card for my friend Sara at some point during high school. We used to binge watch Gossip Girl together and she had a big crush on this character, Chuck Bass, so it seemed appropriate to throw him into the birthday card.

 

mary birthday

This one really shows my lack of photo editing skills, but the subject matter is my friend Mary and Michael Phelps partying together. Mary really digged the Michael Phelps reality show at the time and her and Michael also share a birthday so it was only appropriate to have them partying together.

 

SO, maybe I got a bit carried away, but that’s what you do with things you love. What I can extract from this is that I know that I love making/collaging and I know that I diving deep into what individuals love and care about. I also know that these cards were well received because they were personal and tailored toward the individuals. Maybe if MLS could somehow tap into the personal side of individual fans (without being to creepy), people would feel a stronger, deeper, warmer connection to MLS. Most brands, and definitely most soccer teams don’t go too far to addressing individual needs, so MLS doing so would definitely set them apart from other leagues.

Post 31- The “HEY, I liked them BEFORE they were cool” App

Someone who meets the definition of a “hipster” has probably struggled with the terrible concept of truly liking an underrated product, band, ect, and then having that product suddenly become known, popular and, (god-forbid,) MAINSTREAM. Hipsters don’t like this happening for two reasons:

1.) The “Hey I liked them BEFORE they were cool” concept: Hipsters need acknowledgement of the fact that they liked a certain product/band/ect. before the mass population did. They worked hard to find this product when it was on the DL and people having such easy access to these products irks many hipsters.

2.) The “Once a product becomes mainstream, is it even worth using/liking?” concept: A product gaining popularity is a total turn off for hipster consumers.

So, the second problem is a little to tackle, but I have an idea for how MLS can tackle problem number one.Obviously, this is a TERRIBLE phenomenon that really needs to be addressed appropriately. Here’s how MLS can help.

SOLUTION:

MLS creates an app that allows one to “claim” things they like by documenting the products/services/hobbies/music/ect. down on a public online diary. The date in which they wrote down these interests is permanently attached to their claimed interest logs. This allows for people the opportunity to prove that their interests in a product preceded the general public’s. If MLS creates this app, they might as well do a little advertising for themselves. Perhaps there could also be a part of the app that is solely based around MLS teams and players. People could “claim” interests in lesser known players or less popular teams, just in case these teams or players gain major popularity someday. You’ll need SOME proof to show how true of a fan you really are.

It’s definitely a pretty ridiculous idea, however I do think it might lure in potential “indie” fans. Whether they like to admit it or not, this phenomenon of “liking it before it was cool” is a common indie struggle and having MLS create this app would really be a way of reaching out to indie fans.

This app could also change people’s thinking and excitement towards who to root for. My original thought for this app was solely to prove that you did like a product before while it was lesser known just IN CASE the product became popular later on. However, I can see how this app might alter  people’s thinking and create a love for finding the lesser known teams and players, even for people who typically root for the big guys. I don’t think this would be a bad thing. In this sense, MLS is very subtly advertising a reverse way of thinking that goes against societal norms- seek out the less popular, and potentially worse players and teams, and root for them!

POST 30: GUILTY PLEASURES

GUILTY PLEASURES- Everybody’s got at least one! The concept of a guilty pleasure represents nonconformity entirely. The word “guilty” is what really makes this concept nonconforming. If you feel guilty for liking a certain thing, it’s implied that this thing is something you shouldn’t be doing or enjoying. How do we know what we should and shouldn’t be liking?? Societal norms, standards, and rules. Society loves telling us what to do and what not to do and regulates this through creating rules and norms. If we disobey these rules and norms we’re supposed to feel guilty. When you have a guilty pleasure, that means you are liking/doing something that’s not “normal” or “acceptable” to like. If that’s not nonconformity than I don’t know what is.

Maybe if MLS embraced and publicly advertised some of their guilty pleasures, people might grasp the nonconforming ideals that MLS represents. When imagining how this could be done, I visualize documentary- style filming of players confessing to embarrassing, funny, or deep guilty pleasures. It might be good to find out some real guilty pleasures of MLS soccer players, but since I don’t have access/time to ask them myself, and there is unfortunately nothing to be found on the subject online, I’ll go ahead and make some up just to get my idea across. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Player confesses he loves carrying around a soccer ball and asking people on the street if they could help him with his soccer techniques, (not revealing fact that he’s a professional MLS player), just to see if they know who he is. “Most of the time people have no idea who I am. It’s fun to throw out as many hints as possible, and still have people be totally clueless. I’ve actually gotten a lot of decent advice! And….a lot of terrible advice.”
  • Player admits that one of his favorite pass-times is going to Chick-fil-A and ordering one chicken nugget just to see people’s reactions. ” I just can’t explain the thrill I get out of doing this- I swear it gets me every time. I just hope the employees enjoy it as much as I do.”
  • Player admits he loves instagram/facebook stalking his opponents- “just to see what kind of people i’m up against. I don’t intend to be creepy, I just like to be prepared. It’s also just really fun- to get to see their personal life I wouldn’t know about otherwise, ya know? Again, I swear i’m not a creep!”

After the players admit and share their guilty pleasures, whether they’re silly, ridiculous, or serious, MLS could take a moment to address how guilty pleasures are accepted my MLS.MLS could ask their fans to “show us your guilty pleasures- show us how crazy you guys are.”

Here’s some of my notes:

Post 29- CHEAP THRILLZ

Something that stuck with me from the discussion led by the strategic ad students last class was the fact that soccer is a cheap sport. Soccer can thrive in the poorest of countries and the richest of countries. It’s a 3 ingredient sport.

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This struck a realization. Though many Americans have a relatively considerable amount of money to spend, we still LOVE cheap shit. If a product is cheap and accessible, chances are we’ll take it! Our obsessions with Wal-Mart and McDonald’s are proof of this.

MLS embodies the “cheap thrill” vibe in a few ways. For starters, a main difference between American and European soccer is the fact that MLS starts recruitment at the college level where European teams start scouting for potential players at the ages of 10-12. This allows for more grooming through lavish training. The whole process with high end club facilities, and centers like Arsenal’s training center with manicured, heated fields, top staff, psychological coaching, and diet coaching is entirely more fancy than the American process. We’re more raw and for lack of a better term, CHEAP.

Now, were not the only country that plays cheap soccer. I’m sure many poorer countries don’t recruit in this lavish manner, but the difference between us and them is the fact that America has the means to yet we CHOOSE not to. In this sense, MLS non-conforms.

“Cheap Thrillz” is a fun term and because of it’s sexual connotation I can see people remembering this. For MLS’s sake, this term embraces the fact that soccer, and especially American soccer is a cheap sport. I think working off of this term to explain and represent everything I just ranted about could be a good idea. Maybe something like this??

“CHEAP THRILLZ- In a country that thrives on cheap fun, support an American team that knows good, cheap fun.”

…Kinda wordy slogan but something like that.

 

Post 28- Soccer Mom

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Something slightly relevant popped up in my head last class during the strategic ad discussion. We were talking about how youth soccer tends to end after middle school as we transition to more typical American high school sports like football. Anyways, the concept of soccer moms came to mind at that time.

I realized that the idea of a “soccer mom” is an entirely American concept. Being an American team, I think MLS could toy with this concept and at the same time embrace American culture. Now, soccer moms are usually associated with children or teen teams, but why not extend this joke and have MLS players tended to by their soccer mommies. Things like MLS mother’s handing their children/American soccer playing stars juice boxes, chauffeuring them around in decked out mini-vans, and sitting in the front lines with their home brought lawn chairs.

I am now at the point where I have realized that I haven’t addressed nonconformity…. I think advertising the concept of MLS soccer moms would strike up response and definitely come off as something very American. Being THE American soccer league, this would demonstrate a culture only MLS can demonstrate. However, as we discussed, uniqueness isn’t nonconformity. I thought maybe that having MLS coining the new term “soccer DAD” could dually poke fun at the american soccer mom culture while also introducing something that goes against cultural gender norms. By throwing in the idea of a soccer dad and having that soccer dad(s) be an MLS dad, MLS would be subtly demonstrating their brands theme- nonconformity.

 

 

POST 27- Calling All Hipsters

WE CAN PROMISE YOU:

  • MLS- a name we can guarantee you only a small portion of people will recognize (only a portion of the class knew what MLS was at the start of the sememster)
  • Hand crafted leather soccer balls
  • A fanbase that rarely expands beyond it’s local realm (It’s hard enough to find American soccer fans, but when you do they’re normally found in the cities of their teams.)
  • An unappreciated sport in this country
  • A product that’s only lightly advertised (No “in-your-face” ads like they have for NFL)
  • Obscure team mascots with detailed back stories
  • Diversity (MLS teams are made up players from so many different nationalities and races.)

In class, we discussed how MLS offers an “indie/hipster” vibe. Nonconformity is a way to achieve “indie-ness,” so this makes sense. The concept of being indie/hipster can be confusing though. The whole goal of being indie is to be different, yet you see many conforming qualities and hipster trends. Once there’s a trend doesn’t that mean you’re no longer being indie if you follow?

This is why talking about hipsters and indie culture is so difficult. However, I still believe there are noticeable parallels between hipster culture and MLS culture. The 7 main parallels that came to my mine are bulleted above. MLS is the perfect brand for hipsters. They’re low-key enough, yet still decent quality. Hipsters are often found in urban settings and so are MLS’s teams. Hipsters tend to dig local shit, so it would be smart to advertise for specific teams and really hone in on local team pride. Also, keep in mind that hipsters don’t like heavily advertised products. We need to advertise to them that we don’t advertise heavily so to do so it might be smart to advertise in low-key and non-typical forms.

SO i’m aware that this post is a bit all over the place. That being said, my POINT is that MLS already offers everything hipsters are looking for. From the low-key profile to the obscure team mascots, MLS has potential to be a hipster magnet. If we take cautious measures to advertising all these things we know hipsters love, while still making it not feel like advertising, MLS could attract a very large audience of indie folk.