Conformity requires pushing. It exists because of rules and expectations that people and now, media creates. Many people are naive to the fact that they conform and that they do so because of the pressure emplaced by society.
Because trends are a product of conformity, many PRODUCTS hope for conformity to help them gain popularity. If they can somehow convince their audience that they NEED their product to be a normal human being, then they’re probably in for a decent amount of $$$$$$$$$$$.
So…it makes sense why products hope for this BUT, it puts a lot of pressure on the consumer. What if everything was less forced…products, society , everything.
- High school cliques and popularity queens and kings wouldn’t tell you what to wear and how to act. Instead of saying.. “On Wednesdays we wear pink” or “you CAN’T be apart of the mathletes b/c that’s social suicide” they would say “On Wednesday’s we wear pink…if that’s what you’re into” …and that second quote just wouldn’t exist.
SOOOO eliminating all forms of forced conformity would be GREAT, but it’s just not realistic. A product can’t fix the world but, MLS CAN offer a more comforting approach to showing off their product. MLS, is founded on the brand that offers a”badge of nonconformity.” It feels wrong for a product based on NONconformity, and NOT pushing expectations to sell themselves in the typical form of advertising, making customers feel like they CAN’T live without their product. It’s controversial to try and FORCE the concept of nonconformity. So why do it?
IDEA: “No Pressure” ad campaign. The concept: LIKE US…but only if you want to. MLS could just be very blunt. They could still work hard to show off how awesome their brand/league is. However, instead of taking the approach to show you how you NEED MLS, they could simply show off their brand and INVITE you to like them. If MLS is your thing , cool. Like us! And if not, no biggy. This approach should lure in people who like MLS already, but also people who feel pushed around and pressurized by brands. Many people would respect the fact that MLS isn’t pushing their brand/product and they would be showing of their brand without being hypocritical or controversial.
In all of my favorite teen 90’s movies most of the plots were synonymous. The parents go out of time and the teens throw their very first rager. My favorite part about their party planning was the invites. They always seemed to be very vague and mass produced. They usually only included one or two important pieces of information, leaving the rest for people to find out. The invited were scattered across town and dropped from the top of highschool stairwells (I always thought that was pretty cool.)The text went something like: “massive rager, 7pm, be there” and the rest of the information had to be gathered.
The mysterious, vague invite is very smart in the way that it lures you in my MAKING you go out and find more information. I think that it would be a good idea to expand this tactic from its normal target realm of wild teens to potential MLS fans (aka everyone.) MLS could make vague flyers/invites to their games with limited information. They could put time and date but keep the event itself and their name anonymous. They could make their brand more important than their name by putting out information about the brand, but leaving out “MLS” or anything to do with soccer.
The flyers could say something like “nonconformitsts only” to make people WANT to be the kind of people allowed to this event. It would lure people into and ask them to find out more. They could be spread around the cities that are homes to MLS teams. Physical, tangible, advertising could be a good idea for MLS, since most of their (already little) advertising is done through media.
The flyers themselves would address nonconformity, but they would also be nonconforming themselves in the way that sports are never advertised through the form of tangible, homemade, vague party invites. Not only would it show that MLS approaches things differently, it would also make MLS games seem hip, young and un-missable. Missing an MLS game should feel the same way as missing out on THE high school rager that everyone will talk about for months. The vague invite will attract mystery seekers and lure in people, making them thirsty for more information.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of fitting in and how that ties into conformity. A few ideas have sprung out of this term and one of them is this:
MLS players play a game in really baggy, saggy, clothes to show that you don’t have to “fit in” in oder to be a part of their team. Each player could wear jerseys and shorts 3 times the size of their regular ones. The idea is a pun off the term so it’s obviously silly. If it would be too ridiculous to actually have a real game in this attire they could do a more casual game in this attire solely to make their point. Grasping people’s attention through humor is a good way for them to remember the brand. The jerseys could say things like “we don’t need to fit in” or “fitting in (this jersey) is overrated.”
The fans could participate in the action to. MLS could have “saggy Sundays” wear everyone could attend MLS games wearing clothes they don’t fit into. “Saggy Sundays” could be made into a twitter tag, so people around the nation could follow up on other people’s adventures with not fitting in (their clothes.)
You’ve probably heard of the christmas movie “Island of the Misfit Toys.” In this movie, a group of misfits, who can’t fit into the societal roles expected of them, go on a journey together and stumble upon an island of misfit toys. These characters aren’t happy with the roles they’re expected to play.
The best example of this is the elf who doesn’t want to make toys but has aspirations of being a dentist. He’s ridiculed for wanting to be a dentist because he’s an elf and elves are supposed to make toys.
So, this may sound a little silly but these characters really represent nonconformity in the way that they leave their lives of forced conformity to follow their dreams. People who know this movie get that concept and I think that recreating a summary of this movie where they stumble upon MLS headquarters instead of the Island of Misfits would be a funny way to tag MLS with their brand, badge of nonconformity. It would show that MLS is a safe-haven for people trying to escape conformity.
People (and cats) are RIDICULOUS! We are constantly trying to fit in, even when we really can’t or the situation seems forced. MLS recognizes this phenomenon as crazy and asks you to move on if you don’t fit in or disagree with a societal norm. Don’t conform if it’s not for you. It looks silly!
When I get a chance to take the picture, I plan to recreate this picture with a soccer player in a box that’s too small. This picture put next to this cat will put emphasis on how ridiculous “trying to fit in” can look. After the “sometimes you just don’t fit in” you could say something like “Don’t worry, MLS doesn’t ask you to fit in” …or something like that.
If the shoe fits, buy it in every color. Or… you’re Cinderella? But if it DOESN’T fit, please don’t force it. It’s impractical, painful, and again, RIDICULOUS. Here the white-haired fool (don’t remember his character) is saying “LOOK, the cleat fits the ugly step sister!! She can FIT IN the Prince’s world” when clearly it is a terrible fit.
I wanted to relate something well known, like the Cinderella story, to modern day soccer because that gives me the chance to address nonconformity without a lot of explanation. People already know the STORY (Cinderella …or the fact that cats like to shove themselves in tiny places.) I do think that MLS would need to tag themselves at the end, just so people know that they’re the ones attached to the brand “a badge of nonconformity, but of course this picture would only work for MLS.
Because I know nothing about sports, when I think of soccer, I think of the movie “She’s The Man.” I always thought the movie was funny, but now that I am required to analyze everything soccer in hopes to find nonconformity, I started thinking about this movie differently. This was a little TOO easy in this movie though, because the plot line is about a character who wants to play soccer but can’t because females playing on a men’s team is against societal standards, but finds her own way to break these societal rules. If THAT’s not conformity, than please tell me what is.
Recreate a brief interpretation of this movie on the field with real MLS players. If this were done for a commercial, I think people like myself would greatly appreciate it if MLS actually hired Amanda Bynes herself to dress up like a boy and go play with the MLS team.
This would be a great and it would be addressing gender inequality. Of course, doing this would get pretty complicated if MLS has no intentions of ever having a co-ed team, so this is probably only a good idea if MLS ever tries to create a co-ed team, which is likely to happen at some point.
aIn this day an age, photo opps are VERY important. If you can’t prove you bought a product or indulged in a service, why even waste your money on it.
Why buy a lush bathbomb if you’re not going to take a picture of the colorful bathwater?
Why travel to New York to buy a trendy rainbow bagel if it doesn’t make it to you’re instagram page?
SO here’s MY idea:
LET MLS HELP YOU WITH PERFECTING THE INSTAGRAM POST.
- CELEBRITY CREDIT: Cardboard cut-outs of celebrities in front of the fields and in the stands
- GREAT LIGHTING: Shade blockers and artificial lighting for the rainy darker days or nights that guarantee you good lighting in your photo.
- FANS BECOME STARS: Head-in-the-hole boards of MLS player’s scoring winning shots. Make it look like YOU scored that shot. If you LOOK like a star, you will FEEL like a star.
Most European and South American soccer leagues have such high reputations they don’t need to focus on the fan. They are established and elite and fans come to them no matter what. Let’s be honest- People have been trying and trying many different things to bring fans to MLS and to make soccer a bigger sport in the US. I think that focusing on the fan would not only be a good business strategy, but ALSO would set them apart from other teams. All sports teams obviously want fans and tailor their decisions somewhat based on the fan’s wants, but for the main part, most sport’s teams don’t really work super hard to ensure the fan’s complete satisfaction down to the ridiculous things such as Instagram photo-opps. While it is the norm for athletes to be put before fans, I say put the fans before athletes. In this sense, MLS is being strategically smart, while at the same time is addressing their brand nonconformity by flipping the stereotype.
(INSPIRATION AND THINKING PROCESS)
I was watching “Nathan For You,” (which is a crazy funny show that I could talk about forever but won’t), and I got an idea from an episode. To save myself from going on a tangent about the show I’ll just put a link to the episode if you’re interested in what it’s about and where my idea sprung from.
So, in the show, Nathan came up with a business idea: selling alcohol to minors (just not GIVING it to them until they’re 21.) Nathan realized that the MAIN reason teens drink (or try to) is to look coooool and impress their friends. SO, he came up with another idea: set up a cooool party-esque basement set in the store selling liquor for the teens to take pictures with their alcohol.
Though this was a silly idea, Nathan had a very good point. SOMETIMES, people don’t care as much about the product itself as they do about the image of themselves with that product.