Walk into any Dunkin Donuts in the New York area, or travel on any highway or listen to any radio station and you see some of them: Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Odell Beckham Jr., the individual faces of the New York Giants. Fans love em, businesses see a great uptick in business, kids wear their jerseys, and all are happy. The Jets? Not much. The brand is certainly out there, but individual marketable stars? Very little. Even the Dunkin promos, which have always had a player or coach from rival teams…Mets-Yankees, Rangers-Devils, Knicks-Nets, have TWO Giants, Beckham and Manning, and just some green.
It is a curious decision for the Jets, who even in their own marketing outreach never mention one player; a brief mention of coach Todd Bowles, but then everything else is about fan experience and predictions, not about stars. Darelle Revis? Once featured in a massive campaign by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with “Revis Island,” the returning star is not in the current exposure plans. Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker? Outstanding receivers, nowhere mentioned. Muhammad Wilkerson? Nope. All about Gang Green as a whole, not an individual. Of course in a big market the quarterback as the star sells even more, as we have seen with Manning. The Jets? Even before the broken jaw, Geno Smith was not a part of the outward campaign. Players and the teams do a huge amount of community outreach that gets coverage, but for brand marketing, the Giants engagement in the community for individuals way outdistances the Jets as the season gets rolling.
Now there are several ways to look at it. The transient nature of players these days can make it hard to build stars, so pushing any one player can have an adverse effect on brand equity. He goes down; there goes all the time spent. There is also the team philosophy, which the Yankees have also taken recently, to push the whole vs. the individuals. Win, and then the recognition comes, fans don’t want hype, they want success and authenticity. In past years Rex Ryan out front was the face, now it is more homogenous. Bowles has a different style, and the players need to be team-first, individuals second, is the way it reads to the casual fan. Join our experience and go from there.
In some markets that is easy to buy, but in a star-driven market like to New York, where every day you fight through eight other teams, Broadway and countless other distractions, the team as team is sometimes tough to sell unless you are the Yankees with SO much equity. For years the New Jersey Devils were nameless and faceless, relying on their success on the ice to drive brand value. That was the philosophy of then-GM Lou Lamoriello. That has changed in recent years under the new ownership group at the Prudential Center. Does it work? It certainly makes the sales effort easier, and it certainly will if the team performs well, which gives one marketable individuals and success on the field, ultimate win for both.
Now with Gang Green being 2-0 and excitement rising with new and established faces, things may change down the line. The current 0-2 Giants after all have built great equity in their stars over the past years, something which the Jets have lacked with both onfield performance and consistency of roster. Stars are being built now, and marketed after and all can rise together. Would it be nice to know more of the personalities and can brands now grasp a rising tide of success? Probably. The use of digital media can also push individual hype in a heartbeat, but for now, nameless and faceless team first appears to be working, albeit out of the norm for Gotham.