Manny Ramirez Strikes Out as a Hero

April 11, 2011

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @NYCA

This past Friday, April 8, 2011 Manny Ramirez suddenly retired due to allegations that he was using illegal, game-enhancing drugs for the third time in his career. We first ran this blog in May of 2009. We figure another look at values and integrity was worth a second read, even for Manny fans.

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Full disclosure: I never liked Manny Ramirez. Not when he was a hero of the Red Sox Nation. Not now as a Dodger.  Not because he was good at playing baseball because I do have an appreciation for his machine-oiled swing and his carefree clutch play. But Manny being Manny was two too many Mannys for me.

Manny Ramirez

So that takes me to a news show the other day reporting that Manny Ramirez’s Dodger jerseys are being bought at a record pace since the news broke of his steroid violation. He’s been suspended for 50 games but sales on Manny mania is up.

Tell me, why would anyone want Manny Ramirez’s name on their back – even more now than before – after he was cited for illegal drug use?

Full disclosure number two: I feel the same way about A-Rod. And anyone else who cheats in or out of a Yankee uniform.

I have no issues with success and the riches and fame earned from it if one gets famous for doing decent things, for winning fair. You don’t have to be a working class guy to be a hero. Talent and fame aren’t enough to make you a person to look up to. You can be admired for your physical beauty and social powers but to become a hero, character should count more than homers.

So here’s to the heart-pounding excitement of playing by the rules.

To the miles after miles of straight and narrow.

To delivered-as-promised accountability.

To doing the right thing. Even when no one is watching. And when they are.

Here’s to the guy who holds his trash to toss it in the garbage can and picks it up and tries again when he misses a fall-away jumper. With no stadium, no cheers, no two fingers to the lips and up to the heavens when it goes in.

Here’s to celebrating ordinary goodness at a time when celebrity is so prized and so attainable.

Here’s to aspiring to be that kind of everyday hero.

Hallmark ought to make a day for it.

Everyday Hero Day.

When you care enough to send the very best to those who care enough to always do their best.

Goodness doesn’t need a posse.  If a good act is executed and no one sees it each of us is made better.

It’s easy to see a ball smashed in the ninth inning fly over the wall to win the game. Should you miss it, they will replay it on the jumbo screen, on the sports shows, on the local news, in the paper, online, in the blogs, fan sites.

You think we can tell goodness without a batting average? Without a stage or if it didn’t step out of a limo in a $1,000 suit?

This requires more action on the spectator’s part.

We have a responsibility to see, point out and to judge who we each want to put on the pedestal. If anyone.

My heroes’ names might not be in lights above all others. Some are, though.

She may not be able to sing or dance or run at record speed.

He may not have the mind to understand advanced strategy.

And, then again, they may have all of that. They may be famous for their talent and a nobody for their deeds.

They may be famous for their goodness. Like I said, being famous for doing the right thing is a good thing. It inspires more good stuff since fame is such an aspiration.

Give me the common good guy.

I will be proud to wear his jersey.

I will wait outside his workplace for his autograph.

I will point him out to my kids.

And put his poster over our bed (especially if my wife thinks he’s sexy).

You do the right thing under the intense pressure of an ordinary day or in the dark when the spotlight is off then you’ll have my respect and my thanks.

Now it may not be worth millions so I will also send you a hero card.


Bad Boy Brands – fatal attraction?

May 26, 2009

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @NYCA 

Frigging Manny Ramirez got me thinking. Well, actually it’s the people who are buying his jersey now, since he’s been suspended from baseball for steroids, who’ve got me scratching my head.

Why would they want to wear his shirt, his name, his dreadlocks, now? If they want to align with a profeadvert-dean-gap_lgssional ball player with equally impressive stats, they can choose others. I guess they like being associated with a bad boy.

And that got me thinking about bad boy brands. Do they sell? Can they sustain a relationship or are they stunt workers?

The Gap used James Dean (by today’s standards a weenie but considered by many to be the original bad boy) posthumously for one campaign, to give generic khakis attitude.

Howard Stern’s grossness put Snapple on the map – and got him kicked off the air, too. And let’s be fair to the bad girls for fear they’d kick my butt: the used-to-be-hot Paris Hilton has or had a perfume, a clothing line, a shoe line, a TV series (I liked her in that for two episodes).

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The controversy-magnet Madonna starred in a TV spot for Pepsi, only to get it pulled. Sacrilege wasn’t the choice of the next generation back in 1989. She kept the $5 million.

 

 

As for product brands with attitude, here are a few:

Axe Body Spray for young men show girls get a sniff, girls go wild, boys are devoured. Sales are up. Makes sense; youth is a natural with brands that reject the status quo. Harley Davidson, the eternal renegade, has theme restaurants for those who weren’t born to ride but live to eat Bad Boy. They are the best at being Bad. Carl’s Jrs.’ commercials get their customers hungry for more than meat. 

 

Paris made a spot for them too, cleaning a car with her body while eating a burger.  Big idea? No, but that’s clearly not the point. The idea is it’s a bad idea.

But not all bad is good. You think Hertz would take back OJ if they could? You think McDonald’s has forgotten Kobe’s extramarital encounters? He was off the payroll faster than he can turn and shoot. So I guess when it comes to brands, there’s Bad and there’s bad.

There’s a PR campaign coming out for Michael Vick. Are you going to buy something from him? How about dog food? On the other hand could a hybrid have a nasty attitude? I’d like to see a touch of road rage among all the pretty puffy clouds and spinning odometers.

Last week’s “American Idol” finale featured the black leathered eyeliner and nail polished Adam vs aw-shucks missionary Kris – a sanitized bad boy vs every Dad’s dream for his daughter. America voted for Mr. Clean.  That’s ok Adam, maybe you’re not a bad boy if you’re too popular?

In the end, it is a rare brand that can sustain a pure bad boy reputation and relationship on a mass scale.

Just proves that, like Manny, bad boys make you think but are hard to live with.


Manny Ramirez Strikes Out as a Hero

May 22, 2009

By Michael Mark, creative director/CEO @NYCA  

Full disclosure: I never liked Manny Ramirez. Not when he was a hero of the Red Sox Nation. Not now as a Dodger.  Not because he was good at playing baseball because I do have an appreciation for his machine-oiled swing and his carefree clutch play. But Manny being Manny was two too many Mannys for me.

manny strikes out

So that takes me to a news show the other day reporting that Manny Ramirez’s Dodger jerseys are being bought at a record pace since the news of his steroid violation. He’s been suspended for 50 games but sales on Manny mania is up. 

Tell me why would anyone want Manny Ramirez’s name on their back even more now than before he was cited for illegal drug use?   

Full disclosure number two: I feel the same way about A-Rod. And anyone else who cheats in or out of a Yankee uniform. 

I have no issues with success and the riches and fame earned from it if one gets famous for doing decent things, for winning fair. You don’t have to be a working class guy to be a hero. Talent and fame aren’t enough to make you a person to look up to.  You can be admired for your physical beauty and social powers but to become a hero, character should count more than homers. 

So here’s to the heart-pounding excitement of playing by the rules.

To the miles after miles of straight and narrow.

To delivered-as-promised accountability.

To doing the right thing. Even when no one is watching. And when they are. 

Here’s to the guy who holds his trash to toss it in the garbage can and picks it up and tries again when he misses a fall-away jumper. With no stadium, no cheers, no two fingers to the lips and up to the heavens when it goes in.

Here’s to celebrating ordinary goodness at a time when celebrity is so prized and so attainable.

Here’s to aspiring to be that kind of everyday hero.

Hallmark ought to make a day for it.

Everyday Hero Day.

When you care enough to send the very best to those who care enough to always do their best.

Goodness doesn’t need a posse.  If a good act is executed and no one sees it each of us is made better.

It’s easy to see a ball smashed in the ninth inning fly over the wall to win the game. Should you miss it, they will replay it on the jumbo screen, on the sports shows, on the local news, in the paper, online, in the blogs, fan sites.

You think we can tell goodness without a batting average? Without a stage or if it didn’t step out of a limo in a $1,000 suit?

This requires more action on the spectator’s part.

We have a responsibility to see, point out and to judge who we each want to put on the mantel. If anyone. 

My heroes’ names might not be in lights above all others. Some are, though.

She may not be able to sing or dance or run at record speed.

He may not have the mind to understand advanced strategy.

And, then again, they may have all of that. They may be famous for their talent and a nobody for their deeds.

They may be famous for their goodness. Like I said, being famous for doing the right thing is a good thing. It inspires more good stuff since fame is such an aspiration. 

Give me the common good guy.

I will be proud to wear his jersey.

I will wait outside his workplace for his autograph.

I will point him out to my kids.

And put his poster over our bed (especially if my wife thinks he’s sexy).

You do the right thing under the intense pressure of an ordinary day or in the dark when the spotlight is off then you’ll have my respect and my thanks.

Now it may not be worth millions so I will also send you a hero card.