Thursday, June 23, 2016

Here's a good example of when not to vote for a lesser evil

All of the finalists in the Zephyrs' ill-advised name change operation are stupid.
They are the New Orleans Baby Cakes, Crawfish, King Cakes, Night Owls, Po’boys, Red Eyes and Tailgators. They were picked from among 2,539 submitted last month on line by the public. A least one is the result of a combination of nicknames by Brandiose, the San Diego-based firm in charge of the rebranding the Zephyrs.
By far the dumbest name in that whole paragraph is "Brandiose" but let's not worry about that right now. First there is the task of sorting through this rubbish and figuring out what to salvage.

Disappointed fans, like general election voters, are likely to pick out the least offensive monstrosity and hold their nose over it. Crawfish, King Cakes, and Po'Boys are the very bad front-runners. If you'd asked a class of fourth graders to come up with some avatars of local culture, this is what you'd get. Technically appropriate but not very imaginative.  But they're stupid in a bland and inoffensive way that a lot of people might be in the mood to settle for at this point.  We should demand better.

Tailgators almost sounds good enough to have been a first ballot reject in a closed brainstorming session somewhere. Night Owls sounds like something someone in the brainstorming session should have been fired for. What even is a "Red Eye," though?  The San Diego based marketing team claims it's a reference to crawfish. In which case, we would very much like to know 1) Who uses this term for them ever? 2) Isn't "Crawfish" already one of the options?

Which leaves us only with "Baby Cakes."  What is that? Clearly Brandiose has no idea.
Brandiose owners Jason Klein and Casey White visited New Orleans on May 10-11. They met with Zephyrs officials and toured the New Orleans area speaking with season ticket-holders, corporate and community leaders, then local historians. Klein and White then came up with the nicknames from those submitted.

Baby Cakes was derived from a combination of king cakes, which as we know contain a plastic baby, and area people referring to each other as “baby,” which Klein and White noted during their tour.
Nobody would derive Baby Cakes from the fact of king cake babies. That's just something they made up. Similarly, their discovering the "baby" vernacular in the course of their two day cultural leanrings for make benefit glorious nation of branding tour is clearly bullshit. They really have no idea what they're doing.

At the same time, though, Baby Cakes is so weird, so out there, so blatantly unconnected to anything, that it's actually the one name this process most deserves. Rather than fumble through the rest of these lame ideas looking for a lesser evil, Zephyrs fans should just go the whole nine yards and vote Baby Cakes in protest.  Short of staging a massive sit-in to save the name Zephyrs, this is probably the best way forward now.

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