New Detroit Tigers’ Campaign Celebrates Personal Memories

‘Always a Tiger’ reflects generations of baseball tradition
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TROY, Mich., Feb. 5, 2009 – Three words connect the past, present and future of Detroit Tigers baseball in a new campaign celebrating the team’s rich heritage.

Always a Tiger is the theme of broadcast messages launched this month with well-known voices and faces spanning decades of Detroit Tigers tradition. “They’re not just part of baseball history – they’re part of your history,” a radio spot reminds fans.

Hall of Famers Ernie Harwell, Al Kaline and George Kell reinforce that touchstone of pride and loyalty with classic on-air commentary excerpts. A TV version features on-field legends such as Hank Greenberg, Bill Freehan, Mickey Lolich and Kirk Gibson, along with current stars Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordoñez, Justin Verlander and Curtis Granderson. Print ads and outdoor advertising also will showcase Always a Tiger messages highlighting the Olde English D first stitched into team uniforms in 1904. The print campaign also included a Season Ticket insert featuring hometown hero Willie Horton that was distributed to over 300,000 households in the greater metropolitan Detroit area. The campaign will continue to evolve throughout the season and include high profile alumni and current players.

That type of consistency and continuity now reaching into a second century inspired the club’s new theme, which unites generations of players and fans who know that “Once a Tiger, Always a Tiger.”

“Our new theme evokes vivid emotion and a meaningful tradition,” said Ellen Hill Zeringue, the team’s vice president of marketing. “The Olde English D is a symbol of strength, resilience and pride. It reflects the dedication and passion of lifelong fans, and their anticipation of a new and exciting season.”

Simons Michelson Zieve Advertising, (SMZ) of Troy, Mich., the ballclub’s marketing communications agency since 2005, developed the pride-reinforcing campaign with Zeringue and Tigers executives.

“We also cherish strong personal connections to this team, just like countless others throughout Michigan,” says Debbie Michelson, a vice-president at SMZ. “Many of us have grandparents who watched Hank Greenberg and parents who rooted for Al Kaline. Always a Tiger is more than a slogan – it’s a statement of identity, a timely reminder that the upcoming 2009 season extends an important legacy.”

“You’ve been there through all the plays, through all the years,” states one radio presentation. “One thing never changes – you’re always a Tiger.” Its video counterpart embraces the Old English D as “a letter that’s been worn by each of us, but stands for all of us.”

That antique-style symbol has a prominent role in the Always a Tiger rollout, because it unifies an emotional connection among fans, players and the community.

“Always A Tiger is a reminder of who we are, where we’ve come from, what we’ve been through and accomplished together,” adds Michelson. “This team has played in five ballparks over 108 years, and it has worn the Old English D from the start. It stands for something strong, something that endures and in today’s difficult economy the Tigers still offer one of the best family entertainment values in all of Michigan.”

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