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It looks like a christmas tree, but upon closer inspection it is nothing but an advertising for a neighboring city hockey team. Blatant, obscene, offensive.
The team doesn't even play in Irvine.
For whatever reason it just so happens that December has many holidays, for many religions, creeds and traditions. It is bad enough that those events have already been manhandled by corporations in order to manipulate our hearts and make us spend more money.
But then this? This is taking it over the line. I'm making the effort to go to a place to eat and enjoy some outdoor time with my family. I also pay to be there by way of buying products from the establishments there, repeatedly. I'm a fan, I'm in your tribe... except when you do something like this.
The market place was great for these experiences until the installation of these monstrosities. I now expect things like these to happen regularly because in at least one area of the mall, the parking lot was remodeled to fit the tree. Coincidence? perhaps.
This expectation of recurrence has prompted me to look for other places to shop, it's unfortunate for all the places like Pieology and Coffee Bean.
I always have liked this place. Your kids can play near the fountains, they can run around while you drink a cup of coffee or eat your pizza. If a custom made pizza isn't your thing, you have a gourmet hot dog shop, a fancy coffee shop and and bakery and restaurant. You can buy a book, groceries, have dinner or breakfast and even get your work out in. It's an ideal city outdoor mall. Or it was.
I've lost a lot of respect for the team and the organization running the market place the team won't even get mentioned by name. They hijacked the "deck the halls" title and you'll see them in the pictures.
Oh and the kicker? The smart people behind these marketing ruse decided that one tree would not be enough but instead needed three of them distributed throughout the shopping center.
But why is this so irritating and upsetting? Most people have asked me. The answer is that this goes beyond the looks of the pretty Christmas tree. It goes deeper. It feels like this is the beginning of Idiocracy. Wake up folks.
This is a blatant and in-your-face hijacking of a tradition for the purposes of profit.
In fact I am reminded about a clip by John Oliver titled Corporations on Twitter. Watch it, it's short and enlightening (below).
If the message isn't clear to corporations, let me spell it out for you. Stop trying to crash our cocktail parties, you're not invited and most times you're not welcome.
Unfortunately, you and I (as consumers & marketers) will watch that video and get it, but the big wigs making these marketing decisions won't watch things like these. They're too busy coming up with irritating schemes to sell you more shit you don't need.
Besides the transgression of this act, then we can dig into the implementation of it. Poorly done from so many angles.
The marketing geniuses or is it genii? made it so you don't even want to take photos near the Christmas tree like structures because all that will show on your photos are the hockey players surrounding the base of the tree for no other reason than to put them in your face.
The tree is elevated by a few feet so that you can clearly see the hockey players. If you try to capture all of it in one photos with your kid or loved ones standing near it you'll need to back up quite a bit or get really creative with your photo composition.
It is designed to make the tree be the center of attention in any of your photos. Sorry but no, thanks.
Compare these so called trees to the one at the Irvine Spectrum or South Coast Plaza or Fashion Island. That's smart marketing, people go there to enjoy the sights and sounds and traditions; it's a destination and then they go shopping. Brilliant, but apparently the team that put this together people have never visited those places.
Coming back to this blunder. We can also go into the skimpy clothed cheerleaders. If you have been reading notagrouch for sometime you know I'm not shy about sexuality or adult themes. Have you seen my promo videos for Affiliate Summit?
I consider myself one of the most liberal thinking people I know in that regard, but now as a parent I have to protect my kid from things she's not quite ready to understand.
It is because I know how sexualized our world is that I'm in such high alert for these things.
When I see these pictures at eye level for my kid and designed to appeal to her eyes, that's when you've crossed the line.
I hope the Irvine company, the management of the mall and the management of the team come to their senses and realize this is tarnishing their brands rather than extending them and at a more personal level, this is offensive and abusive.