Tuesday, November 11, 2008
John Madden and the Turducken: A Marketing Enigma
Love him or hate him, John Madden, one of the goofiest and most quoted characters in football history, has evolved into one of the most powerful brand names in football ,video games and even Thanksgiving dinner. His three fascinations all start with the letter "F":Football, Favre and Food
If you're not familiar with the famous former coach and commentator,here are some of his most memorable quotes from live NFL broadcasts. I like to call his pearls of wisdom- "Maddenisms"
- "I think comparisons are odious."
- "Don't worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon."
- "If you see a defense team with dirt and mud on their backs they've had a bad day."
- "When your arm gets hit, the ball is not going to go where you want it to."
- (During an instant replay) "You see, you gotta see. Because if you can't see, then you don't know what you're looking at."
- "His (Brett Favre's) numbers are getting so wide, they won't fit on the television screen. They're going to need DDTV."
Despite Madden's odd ramblings, he's managed to become one of the most popular broadcasters of all time, and was recently inducted into the pro football hall of fame. During the past 10 years, Madden's NFL video game series with EA Sports has become a cultural phenomenon. The latest installment,Madden 09, had an official release party at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where fans met NFL all-stars and rocked out to concerts by Good Charlotte and Bustah Rhymes. The game sells millions of copies each year and is featured in ESPN's reality show Madden Nation, where the gamers compete in a nationwide tournament in a luxury bus.
But Madden's endorsements aren't limited to video games. During the Thanksgiving Bowl Game, Madden unofficially promoted the Turducken (a turkey stuffed with a duck, which itself is stuffed with a small chicken) when he awarded it to players on the winning team.
During the past eight years, Turduckens have become more popular for Thanksgiving Dinner. Lauren Mack of Columbia News Services wrote an article titled "What's for Thanksgiving dinner? Why, "Turducken," of course."
In the article Molly Wyrick, a catalog manager for Felder Brothers, Hickory Farms’ parent company said that Turducken sales have increased every year, despite their hefty average price of $120. Wyrick said
Turducken is one of our top sellers, oddly enough.
Last Thanksgiving, when Madden reverted back to the traditional thanksgiving turkey, it prompted one fan to make a sign that read: "JOHN MADDEN, BRING BACK TURDUCKEN" John Madden's impressive ability to plug a product remains one of the greatest mysteries of marketing.
By Matt O'Hern at 10:57 AM | Comments (1)