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Dolphins marketing changes course -- again

You might recall a couple of months back the Dolphins sort of unveiled a 2008 marketing campaign that, really, no one but the high-priced genius who came up with it understood.

The campaign boldly insisted Dolphins fans should "Respect the Code." Problem was that no one respected the idea behind the campaign. Ticket sales early this offseason were not great even though the team's internal optimism was soaring with the arrival of Bill Parcells.

Well, the code campaign has apparently passed on to marketing heaven and now the team's new campaign is "A New Beginning." If you live in South Florida, you probably have seen the billboards featuring GM Jeff Ireland, Parcells and coach Tony Sparano lining the highways and byways.

The campaign uses the novel approach of not promoting any player -- you know, the guys most folks pay to see -- because apparently the Dolphins don't think any of their players would sell tickets. Even Jason Taylor is not a candidate because the Dolphins were 1-15 with him last year and his status for 2008 is, shall we say, uncertain.

A Dolphins spokesman tried to convince me recently that rather than bill this new campaign as a complete departure from the code failure, I should portray the change as the result of an "evolving" strategy. Yeah, right. And Barack Obama is not flip-flopping on Iraq and campaign financing and his ties to that "church" he attended for 20 years but now disavows.

Anyway, the Dolphins change in marketing course is nothing that should surprise as they have been "evolving" on other fronts also, not the least of which is ticket pricing. Remember that January news release from the team that boldly stated ticket prices would not be raised through the spring?

Well it is summer. And ticket prices have risen from last year.

On a season-ticket basis, which is the only thing we can go by right now as single-game tickets are not yet available, the Dolphins raised prices across the board with the lone exception of upper prime seats which remain at $81.

Lower sideline seats went from $92 last year to $98 this year. Lower corner and endzone seats went from $77 to $82. Upper sideline seats went from $65 to $70. Upper corner and upper endzone (rows 1-4) went from $55 to $59. Upper corner and endzones went from $39 to $42. And economy section seats went from $29 to $31.

We shall see in the coming months if the new campaign can overcome the fact Miami was the worst team in the NFL last season. We shall see if the team can keep from losing season-ticket buyers from the previous year for the fourth time in five years (2006 it went up.)

But mostly we shall see if South Florida Dolfans and Dolfans in general believe this latest "new beginning" is worth the higher price of admission.

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