Browsing articles in "Sports"
Sep 6, 2014

Bud Light Brand Experience. Whatever.

Visitors to Whatever U.S.A.

It’s been difficult to watch tv this summer without seeing commercials for Bud Light’s “real town,” Whatever, U.S.A.  I have periodically gone on the site “,”  signed in with my age (to prove I am over 21, which anyone can do.)  I have to confess that I am not the target audience, and I am basically too old to decipher what is happening here. There is a renamed town called Whatever U.S.A. where people can party on.  Whatever.    That town is Crested Butte, Colorado, to which Bud Light paid $500,000 for the privilege of bringing 1000 Bud Light-drinking-fans for three days of partying and entertainment.  One Denver Post article said that Honey Boo Boo and Jay Z were spotted among the crowds.  In keeping with Bud Light’s blue bottle, main street was painted blue, and blue buses were carrying around Bud Light imbibing passengers.  Whatever USA officially opened for business just this week.  Whatever.

The run up to Whatever U.S.A. was pop up Bud Light Whatever experiences, running throughout the summer.  I was able to follow one video which featured two random guys who told the Bud Light Rep they were “Up for Whatever” and an experience ensued, among other things, meeting Alonzo Mourning in a hotel room, and having Karl Malone arrive as a mailman and hooking them up with the full whatever treatment.  This included being driven around town by a bull, riding on a bus with cheerleaders, playing H.O.R.S.E. with some NBA players, and getting tricked out at a men’s store in real N.B.A. goin’ out on the town style.  Now, that’s hardly whatever.  But there you go.

I got interested in the rankings of beer by sales and found some figures for the top 20 in 2013.  Brook and I used to use Budweiser as an example in our branding presentation, with its “This Bud’s for You” (i.e. anyone) line which was part of making them the King of Beers for a very, very long time.  Turns out that in 2013 Bud Light was the King of Beers, topping the top 20 with $5,945,776,000 in sales.  Among the top 20 are 11 beers distributed by Anheuser Busch, including #20 Bud Light Straw Ber Rita which had $246,550,800 in sales.  Budweiser, it’s audience growing older, clocked in with $2,1110,352,000 in sales.  Not bad, but not close to Bud Light.  Whatever.

Bud Light’s UpforWhatever campaign is what marketers calls “experiential.”  In addition to Whatever, U.S.A., Bud Light has surprised people all summer (who are up for whatever) with experiences like the NBA one described above.

One of the first experiential campaigns was Saturn’s Homecoming Weekend, described in 1994 by the Chicago Tribune:

SPRING HILL, Tenn. — They arrived from 47 states and a handful of countries. They strapped themselves into harnesses and climbed walls made to look like mountains. Two of them took a respite between the plant tour and the Wynona Judd concert and got married.There were bands, singers, magicians and a fireworks display with “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful” as background music. Tattoo artists left their mark (briefly-they were washable) on guests while even a blacksmith demonstrated how he plies his trade. This was a happening, an event likened to Woodstock revisited.When 38,000 people braved heat, humidity and subsequent cloudbursts to attend.

Saturn was one of the first corporations to recognize that people connect with their stuff and the more you help them connect, the more they want your stuff.

One of the most bizarre experiential campaigns is the Marlboro Ranch Campaign, where winners of contests can go to Crazy Mountain Ranch and smoke with other smokers.  As Crazy Mountain Ranch *Marlboro* says on its Facebook page:

To all who have inquired. No. You can not pay to go to the ranch. Only way to experience the Crazy Mountain Ranch is by winning or being the guest of a winner.
Aug 29, 2014

NFL Issues(not much better) New Ruling on Domestic Violence Offenses

Running back and batterer Ray Rice

Update:  Ray Rice has just been let go by the Baltimore Ravens and banned from the NFL indefinitely.  On the positive side, domestic violence is getting lots of attention.  On the negative side, the NFL is getting more.


Recently,the Domestic Violence Action Center put up a post (on their blog about the hand slap which the Ravens’ Ray Rice received for battering his then-girlfriend Jayna Palmer.  He beat her up in an elevator and then was caught on camera literally kicking her out of the door while she lay face down on the ground.  He got off lightly all around, with a probation and community service from the courts, and a two game suspension from the NFL.  The Ray Rice incident was widely publicized and there was huge blowback from the public (football fans and the general public alike) regarding the light “sentence” Rice received from Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Yesterday, Goodell released a new policy on domestic violence and sexual assault.  Either offense will result in a minimum six game suspension, and a second offense will result in an indefinite suspension from the game.  In announcing the new ruling, Goodell acknowledged that he had gotten it wrong with Ray Rice.  Boy, did he ever.  He had suspended players for four games for smoking marijuana.   The entire text of Goodell’s letter to the owners can be found here:


Among other things, Goodell wrote: The public response reinforced my belief that the NFL is held to a higher standard, and properly so. Much of the criticism stemmed from a fundamental recognition that the NFL is a leader, that we do stand for important values, and that we can project those values in ways that have a positive impact beyond professional football. We embrace this role and the responsibility that comes with it. We will listen openly, engage our critics constructively, and seek continuous improvement in everything we do. We will use this opportunity to create a positive outcome by promoting policies of respect for women both within and outside of the workplace. We will work with nationally recognized experts to ensure that the NFL has a model policy on domestic violence and sexual assault. We will invest time and resources in training, programs and services that will become part of our culture. And we will increase the sanctions imposed on NFL personnel who violate our policies.

I hope he is serious about working with nationally recognized experts on developing and new policy promoting respect for women both within and outside of the workplace.  Seems a small gesture to me.  After what Ray Rice did, in my opinion, he should have gone to jail and been kicked out of  football.  And his girlfriend Janay Palmer should have her head examined for marrying him after what he did to her.  As for holding the NFL to a higher standard, this is just plain bunk.  No one, no how should get away with domestic violence and/or sexual assault without severe consequences.   Criticizing the walk-in-the-park two game suspension for Ray Rice has nothing to do with “holding the NFL to a higher standard.”

Read League of Denial. The NFL’s values as regards it’s players are definitely questionable, and despite the new policy, the NFL’s values don’t do much for their victims either.

Feb 2, 2013

Ravens, Car Washes, Chicken Soup & Mariposa Restaurant

Readers of this blog know that part of my growing up time was spent in Towson Maryland, where I happily watched the Orioles and the Colts, went to Gino Marchettis for french fries and Alan Ameche’s for fried chicken, and drank chicken soup at the car wash in the winter with my Dad.

As the Baltimore Ravens prepare to take on the San Francisco 49′ers, the Ravens are my home team.  I have family in SFO, I visit there quite often, and usually, they are my home team.  But not this time.  Besides the fact that I learned to love sports in Baltimore, there is Michael Oher (I discovered him before you did, I bet) and Ray Lewis.  I am a sucker for the old guys in their last game.

The car wash thing is connected to football because Dad and I always had a cup of chicken soup (dried soup and hot water, 25 cents from a machine) at the car wash and headed over to Alan Ameche’s or Gino Marchetti’s with our freshly cleaned car.

I have discovered chicken soup here in Hawai`i that takes me back to Baltimore and the car wash and my Dad.    Never mind that it is at the fancy restaurant in Nieman Marcus — Mariposa — it is thick and soothing and just about the same size…although served in a tiny ceramic cup and saucer at the outset of the meal.  A pre-bite.  pre-sip.  It is wonderful.  Mariposa is one place I am willing to drive across the mountain for — to have lunch with a friend, with the secret agenda of tasting that soup — and being back in Baltimore with Daddy.  Weather cold.  Wrapped up warm.  And delicious chicken soup. In a paper cup.  From a vending machine.

Go Ravens!

Dec 2, 2012

Season of Traditions

sanding the mallets made from guava wood

Yesterday, Ian and the boys from the block got together to sand the mallets they needed to prepare for Mochi pounding on the 23rd of December.  This is part of the tradition the local Japanese community has kept alive in celebration of the New Year, and for good luck.

When February comes,they will suit up and go into the rainforest looking for already-felled guava trees for next year’s mochi pounding.

Guava-the-perfect-mochi-pounding wood has tannins and so it has to be soaked and dried several times to keep the mochi from turning red.

The guava is put through its paces,including drying, planing, sanding and soaking once again. The mochi pounding will happen at Grandma’s house and everyone knows whose grandma it is.  Traditions are like that.  They don’t invite change, and they represent stability and values from one generation to the next.  Traditions keep us together.

We are especially luck we live in Hawai`i because we have long had the diversity that much of white America seems to be afraid of.  We love the traditions each ethnic group has preserved and have learned again to appreciate the host culture and its traditions.

When Chinese New Year comes around on February 10 we will all celebrate the Year of the Snake. We will make Nian Gao, which literally means year cake, light firecrackers and go to a lion dance.

Fat Tuesday, before lent, is celebrated here with Portuguese Malasadas  — insanely good, large, super sugared donut holes.

So now we are in the commercially-driven tradition of Christmas, beating each other out for the best deals  at Best Buy.  On New Year’s we’ll have a party (or not) and drink champagne (or not) or go to a hotel to see a singer from our past (or not).   We may not gather as family, as we likely did for Thanksgiving.  There are so many traditions more interesting than our own.


Nov 18, 2012

Manti T’eo

Manti and his best friend Robbie Toma at Senior Day

Our local FOX affiliate has been running :  Manti T’eo:  The Making of a Legend.  In case you haven’t heard of him, Manti is a line backer for Notre Dame, number 5 on defense (for some crazy reason, there is a number 5 on offense, the quarterback).

Manti is a gracious giant.  He is his parent’s son.  He has a huge heart and the entire Notre Dame community counts him as theirs.  So do we in Hawai`i.  Manti played at Punahou to singular acclaim, he is a Heisman candidate and an honorable man.

Manti is a perfect example of how we herald our own in Hawai`i. He will forever be “Hawai`i boy” or “former Punahou defenseman” when he is a famous NFL player.  There is no doubt he will be.

Sometimes this seems a bit jingoistic of us.  We love sports in Hawai`i, so we always make sure we remind people:  Sid Fernandez was always “former Kaiser High School standout;”  Shane Victorino is always “Maui boy;” B.J. Penn is “Hilo boy.”  When Sid Fernandez departs this mortal coil, his obit will start   “Former Kaiser High School standout Sid Fernandez”.  He could be 110 and it will say that…  If you become famous and you have set foot in Hawai`i, you are ours:  Bette Middler . Tammy Duckworth.

Back to Manti : he is the most recruited athlete ever to come out of Hawai`i.  30 schools made him offers.  More than Mosi Tatupu.  More than Junior Tseu.  His GPA was 3.5.  He is an Eagle Scout.  He volunteered at the Foodbank and Special Olympics, to name just two.

Today is Senior Day at Notre Dame. Manti passed up the NFL draft as a junior so he could be here for Senior Day and the “Notre Dame experience.” In his freshman year, they lost big.  This year, they are leading Wake Forest 38-0 in the 4th.  There is one minute left to play.  Manti just showered his coach with gatorade.

The truth is we have so many talented people in and from Hawai`i.  Lucky we live here.   Looking forward to seeing “Punahou standout Manti T’eo” play in the NFL.

Even the leprechaun donned a lei for Manti



Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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