Monday, July 11, 2011

Pete Rose/Branding (Short Take)

I turned a corner in the shop forum of Caesar'...
Yesterday as I was walking around I saw several signs out saying that Pete Rose would be appearing at noon at at one of the nearby shops to sign stuff. Most people in the US will know Pete Rose as "Charlie Hustle", arguably  the greatest baseball players of all time. Derek Jeter may have just gotten his 3000th hit, but Pete Rose had over 4000 over the course of his career and is the all time hits leader.

Rose would seem like a sure fire first ballot hall of fame player. There is only one problem. He's barred from baseball for life for betting on the game. Baseball and betting do not go hand in hand for reasons I won't go into here but look up the "Black Sox scandal" if you want to know more. Suffice it to say that Rose is persona non gratis in baseball and has been for more than two decades. Early on in his exile he had a lot of supporters. Over time his star has continued to fade and you seldom hear about him these days.

I walked past that shop a few times after Rose showed up. He was seated outside at a table with an attendant who was trying to drum up business. I'm a big baseball fan and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't cool to get to see him in person. I didn't stop though and almost nobody else did based on my observations. At most I saw one person at his table. Rose sat, somewhat slumped and staring disinterestedly the two times there was nobody there. The third time he was signing something but he was also talking on his phone.

A couple of things were reinforced for me based on this experience. One, you can have the greatest brand of all time and through poor choices completely destroy it and two, when you're down it's obviously tough to look like you care which only compounds the problem.

Image via Wikipedia
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