Hello KK Readers! My name is Alanah Downie and a few of you may know me from Vancouver Canucks Op Ed. Paul has graciously invited me to post here along with a couple other hockey bloggers. However, it is my understanding that I am the ONLY west coast blogger in the house, so consider me your source of all that is good and pure in the world of Kukla's Korner. And please feel free to comment or email me at vancouvercanucksoped (at) gmail.com for any reason. Thanks!
I've been thinking about writing this for a while, but then got busy with things and forgot temporarily. But today I got a new reminder, via this video.
If you can, watch this first (38 secs) then I'll explain more. See the "average Blues fan" picking up autographs:
Now, this little piece (and more) of so-called Average Joe Fan footage was produced by The Blue Revolution, which is a public relations propaganda(?) site created by the St. Louis Blues in June. Which would be fine, except that it makes every effort to appear to be a fan-created blog.
I first found out about this website when reading Sidearm Delivery a few weeks ago, and was pretty shocked that any NHL team would do something this foolish. The NHL itself has shown signs of trying to create better relations with their fans in the past year, but then a team like the St. Louis Blues officially sanctions nonesense like this?
Let me be clear: it's cool that the Blues want to build an interactive site for their fans, but it's NOT cool that they're dressing it up as a fan-run blog. The perspectives on that site filter through their own head office, and a page like "The Fanifesto" is highly misleading, since the Blues themselves are creating and editing this so-called 'fans rights' (or whatever) page.
And furthermore, it is intentionally misleading. An example of this "blogger's" words are: "I'm just one Blues fan and the idea of The Blue Revolution is to include all fans." Uh huh. Right. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch certainly refuted that when they pointed out this comment by the president of the advertising agency that created the site:
"The intention was to make the site look like fans did it. If you come out initially and say this is the Blues' Web site, it would become very commercial."
The truth is, it IS commercial, and an NHL team agreeing to create something deliberately misleading is extremely bad form. It is staged publicity, and Blues fans deserve better.
Hockey fans are very internet smart (just consider how much fan-created hockey media there is) and St. Louis seems to be treating them like children. If they wanted to get in on the grass roots with Blues' fans, why not work with the Blues fan websites out there? They've got a huge built-in fan base right under their own noses, but it seems like they don't want to interact with those fans at all. Perhaps because it's much easier to manipulate them at The Blue Revolution than it is to answer to them directly.
Clearly they wanted to create a grassroot viral marketing type thing with this site, so I'm just giving them what they asked for. And it looks sleazy from where I'm sitting, St. Louis. Use your head.