With every new season, one of the more interesting announcements we, Astros’ fans, anticipate is that year’s slogan. This season, maybe more than most because it’s also the first crack at this for the new regime of Jim Crane and George Postolos. The prior group, for the most part, tried to tie in the slogan with team expectations or makeup but it had gotten increasingly harder given the state of the franchise over the last few years. How do you promote a brand that was broken to a fanbase becoming more and more apathetic? The sale of the Astros took care of that issue this season but the challenge remains for the boys on Crawford, come up with a catchy slogan and yet try not to insult the fanbases’ intelligence. This morning Zachery Levine unveiled the 2012 slogan via twitter, “ROOT, ROOT, ROOT.”
On the surface, I am still digesting the phrase. It comes from “Take me out to the ballgame” and it directs fans away from the club and more towards the traditions of baseball. I like that, actually a lot, as it honestly tells you to enjoy the experience rather than the results. I love when sports organizations are honest with themselves and their fans, some around town seem to have issues with that. The Astros won’t contend and will sometimes be a hard sell, that was always understood, but with this slogan it shifts that reality away from the team. It uses tradition and Minute Maid Park to sell fans and makes the experience a family will have this season as the main reason to show up. Let’s face it, attendance will be a huge issue, it won’t be good and after the initial buzz of the start of the season, it could get lonely during the long summer. Using those parameters to work with, creating this type of atmosphere was the clear directive in creating the new slogan.
Saying all that, I’m not sure I like the focus being turned away from the franchise and more toward what’s around them. In Zachary’s article, he did note a number of advertisements, billboards and banners will be put up around town. That will help, I just wish the slogan itself would have pointed more at the product on the field than what almost seems like a plea of support. I was expecting something that would include a note to the future or the promise of some of the guys like Jose Altuve, J.D. Martinez and Bud Norris, not just billboards. I’m not sure the casual fan has grasped the magnitude of what the Astros have embarked upon, a nod to that group might have been ideal.
Overall, my initial thought was that of content. “ROOT, ROOT, ROOT” works nicely to promote and is different enough from the almost comical slogans we saw during the last few years. Don’t tell me we have a group of good guys or to root for them, I know who they are. This slogan is less about the group of largely unknown talent, which is a tougher sell, and more about reality. So I understand the decision and direction, now lets see how many chances this group of young studs will give the Houston fanbase a chance to “ROOT, ROOT, ROOT.”