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Home > Blog > Little White Lies, or Great Tales from the Marketing Front
Out of Our Minds
Thursday, May 05, 2005 7:01 PM
Little White Lies, or Great Tales from the Marketing Front
Kevin Salwen on Creativity

This year, the Anaheim Angels moved 25 miles, to Los Angeles. At least they did so in name. For non-baseball fans, what really happened is this: the Angels wanted to be a bigger market team, so they never physically moved an inch, still play in the same park, etc. They simply renamed themselves the Los Angeles Angels.

That's been none-too-pleasing to folks in California. By a 9-0 vote, a state assembly committee just approved a bill that would force the Angels to include a disclaimer on tickets and advertisements indicating the team plays in Anaheim, not Los Angeles.

It got me thinking about all the white lies -- little and otherwise -- that companies tell consumers. Bigger, improved, tastes great, run faster, jump higher! It's frankly as natural as marketing itself. So, is it OK? Do we all so expect the b.s. to pile up that we don't flinch anymore? Does it hurt anyone that the Angels changed their city name? My knee wants to jerk upward and shout 'Yes' but doesn't numbness set in after a while?


4 comments

Ray Daly - 5/9/2005 7:17:15 AM
Are all of the players Los Angeles natives? If you really want honest representation then shouldn't the team that represents what Los Angeles be from Los Angeles?

There is an emotional 'leap of faith' to follow any team. This is not a rational decision.
kent - 5/6/2005 1:00:35 PM
The Los Angeles Angels was the original name of the team when they were an expansion team in the early 1960s. They changed their name to the California Angels when they moved to Anaheim or sometime thereafter, and then changed their name to the Anaheim Angels. So there's not a lot of tradition that the Angels are throwing away by changing their name once again.

As for geographic accuracy, I'm reminded of how silly Howard Cosell sounded when he insisted on calling the New York Jets/Giants the New Jersey Jets/Giants when they moved their games to the Meadowlands. Anaheim's a suburb of L.A., so what's the big deal? There are plenty of other teams that don't play in the city limits of the cities they're named for.
martin - 5/6/2005 11:58:20 AM
Rub that knee and get the numbness out! Labeling is reaching into some very uncomfortable grey/downright false areas. Just walk down a grocery aisle and look at the 'natural' or some 'organic' labels on certain foods. Closer investigation reveals some very loose definitions of those words and (sadly) few consumers look or understand.

Perhaps they should adopt what the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots have done and be regionally named if that would make them more comfortable. This won't satisfy Eric's insight into alliteration but how about The Lower and Westerly California, But Not Including San Diego, Angels?
Eric McNulty - 5/5/2005 8:48:32 PM
It comes to questions of authenticity and institutional memory. With ballpark names changing based on who's willing to pay for the rights and players shifting faster than tires changed at a pit stop, consumers get less attached to anything but the brand itself.

Personally, I'm old fashioned. I'll stand in front of the bulldozers if they ever try to take down Fenway Park. I've never enjoyed a game at the Fleet, er, Bank of America Center as much as I did in the cramped, stinky Boston Garden. The more it feels shaped by a marketing department, the less I like it.

Anaheim v. Los Angeles -- does anyone else remember when they were the California Angels and represented the whole state?

Yes. It matters that they changed their city name. If you play in Anaheim, don't be ashamed to say you're from Anaheim. Besides, there's too little aliteration in sports anymore.

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