Royals cover their bases with new campaign

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As clever as the Royals’ 2012 “Our Time” slogan was, the Royals took no chances this year when they unveiled the 2013 slogan as “Come to Play.”
 
There’s little doubt the Royals were looking to play it safe this season after the “Our Time” slogan – so popular in spring training last year – blew up into a derogatory punch line after April.
 
The Royals’ 12-game losing streak in early April all but doomed “Our Time” and the slogan was regularly ridiculed on talk radio and blogs all over Kansas City.
 
“We really had to pick a slogan that didn’t necessarily predict the outcome on the field,” Toby Cook, Royals vice president of community affairs and publicity told FOXSportsKansasCity.com.
 
“Using ‘Come to Play’ really emphasizes what we know will be true, that every guy on this team will come to play hard every night. I think fans recognized that last year even during the losing streaks – these young guys came to play every night and that was evident in the number of close losses we had.
 
“But ‘Come to Play’ also emphasizes another element we know to be true and that’s the fact people who come to Kauffman Stadium can come to play in a very friendly environment and truly enjoy the experience of baseball.”
 
The “Our Time” campaign actually was originally geared more toward Kansas City having the All-Star Game than the team’s on-the-field fortunes.  
 
“When we started the TV ads for ‘Our Time’ we looked to talk to several former Royals such as John Mayberry and George Brett and so on to talk about the All-Star Game coming back to Kansas City,” Cook said. “That was the focus – this was our time to have the All-Star Game back in be in the national spotlight. But we also had several current players on those TV ads talk about ‘Our Time’ and I think in hindsight, that’s where we made a mistake.
 
“Having the current players talk about ‘Our Time’ changed the focus to the team’s performance on the field. It was sort of a prediction, and you never want to get into that. You don’t want to shy away from promoting your team or your players, but it is dangerous to make assumptions and predictions.”
 
“Come to Play” makes no such predictions about the 2013 team’s fortunes, though with the improved starting rotation, the 2013 Royals appear to be much more geared for success.
 
“We still had to play it down the middle,” Cook said. “There was nothing wrong with ‘Our Time’ except the association it took on with the on-the-field product. So we couldn’t go that direction again.”
 
The Royals had used local ad agency VML for the “Our Time” slogan, and had been a partner with VML for four years.
 
But after  last season, the Royals, as has been their practice, invited open bids from several agencies for the 2013 campaign and slogan.  This time, VML decided not to participate in the process.
 
“While we really value the Royals as a partner and have done some great things together, we elected to decline participation in the (process),” VML CEO Jon Cook told the Kansas City Business Journal last fall. “This will allow a new partner to bring a different perspective and for us to focus on other priorities.”
 
The Royals opted for “Come to Play” through a new partner, Kansas City-based ad agency Walz Tetrick.
 
“With the offseason additions, this year’s team is a great combination of youth, experience and leadership,” said WTA president Charlie Tetrick. “Every pitch is an opportunity for something exciting and unexpected to happen.  When you add in the sights, sounds and smells of The K, it’s a unique experience that people throughout Royals territory treasure.  From the players and fans to the K Crew and Sluggerrr, ‘Come to Play’ is a rally cry that encompasses all of the excitement that is Royals baseball.”
 
And more than anything, it’s safe.