Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A shipwreck of a contest

Here are a few tips on how to kill all interest in a 160-year-old trademark, based on the way this year's America's Cup yachting competition has been conducted.

1) Take as your starting point a competition with a good brand, an exciting challenge format with lots of teams, plenty of sponsors and a thrilling set of races, the last of which is won by only one second over 40 miles. Have everyone talking about what a great thing this is.

2) As defending champion, release a new set of stringent rules that will strongly favour your side next time and manage to irritate every other team. This will provoke another team into launching a battle to knock that smile off your face.

3) As that other team, quibble over everything. Launch lawsuit after lawsuit (nine in all would be good) over the size of boats, timing of races, location, where the sails are made, make-up of the judging panel, lack of sparkling water in the hospitality tent and so on. Take two years doing it. Ensure that the only time anyone reads about the competition the articles feature the words "turmoil", "chaos", "crisis" and "piss-up in a brewery".

4) Just as everyone is fed up with your squabbling, grudgingly agree with each other to compete. Make sure that there are no other competitors, though, even though 19 teams from around the world would like to take part. If you have really done your job well, interest from sponsors will slump: from $200 million in 2007 to $11 million this year.

5) Schedule the competition in the week between the Super Bowl and the start of the Winter Olympics to ensure that any remaining interest is crushed. And begin racing at 5am US time, just to knock out those few enthusiasts in the challenging team's country who may want to watch it.

6) In case anyone were in any further doubt about your intentions, make it known that if you lose the contest you will go back to court anyway and sue your rival again until you win.

7) Once everything is finally ready to get under way, cancel the opening day's racing because there is not enough wind.

8) Cancel the next day's racing because there is too much wind.

9) Cancel a third day of racing because it is the wrong type of wind (to come)

1 comment:

Johnmc said...

Surely the quickest way to kill interest in anything is to involve yachting (except the Olympics when we win a load of medals). Nice new blog Patrick