Wednesday, April 2, 2008

B.F. Goodrich blimp sighting...

Anybody remember the Goodrich blimp? If you're over the age of 35, odds are good you saw B.F. Goodrich tire commercials back in the 1970s. Goodrich didn't actually have a blimp, but they made highly regarded tires--and lived in the shadow of Goodyear, the 800-pound gorilla of vulcanized rubber. Trying to eliminate confusion in peoples' minds, Goodrich's ad agency dreamed up a campaign which talked about the Goodrich blimp--then reminded viewers that Goodrich didn't have a blimp, but that they made great tires. A little inverse marketing, if you will.

Creating a brand identity ain't easy--and it's even tougher when your name is similar to that of your better-known competitor. I was reminded of that challenge yesterday while watching ESPN's coverage of the season opener from Wrigley Field. Sam Zell, new owner of the Tribune Company (which owns the Cubs), has made the move to monetize a bunch of assets which had otherwise lain fallow, slapping advertising on lots of places it didn't exist before--cup holders, new seats, the ballpark itself. One particular sponsorship which has drawn lots of ink is the 3 rows of new seats down the third base line. Sponsored by the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the CBOE seats are being auctioned, rather than sold--leading to a more flexible, consumer-driven market, putting more money in the Cubs' coffers, and hopefully leading to a better product on the field.

However, CBOE lost out on a nice referral blurb yesterday during the ESPN telecast, when Brent Musburger said "They installed new seating here; these are the seats that are auctioned off by the Board of Trade. They have not been auctioned off for the entire season; I believe they are holding them back for July, August, and September."

Uh, only one problem. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) is sponsoring these seats. The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) isn't. CBOE is the U.S. leader in just about everything when it comes to options trading. CBOT is now part of the Merc (Chicago Mercantile Exchange), and is still the big daddy of commodities exchanges--along with being better known.

I might've expected that Brent Musburger, a 1961 graduate of Northwestern University, would know that CBOE isn't the Board of Trade, but he's obviously not the only one confused.

Maybe they need a blimp.

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