Lions' Be More Than A Bystander project

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sj-roc
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Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:03 pm

I've collected the posts from the marketing thread on this topic to start a new thread here. Rather than disrupt that thread I think this is a better place to discuss this topic as desired.
Lions4ever wrote:The Lions marketing braintrust has elected to hitch its wagon to that domestic violence campaign with in-stadium spots and advertising signage around the field. I get that this is a serious social issue and it is noble of the Lions and they are to be applauded, but let's be honest. It's a real debby downer of a topic and isn't conducive to the entertainment escape that attending a sports event is, presumably, supposed to be about. I'm not saying don't do it, by all means it's an important social issue...but it seems to point the finger at the very fans they're trying to attract. That's the uncomfortable subtext: If you are involved in football or a fan of it and probably a male, you, more than the rest of the general population, need to heed this message about violence against our female population. They don't seem to have thought through that this is not a fun thing to be reminded about constantly during a game. There needs to be some sort of balance struck.
sj-roc wrote:Your comments remind me of when Don Cherry took umbrage at those PSAs aimed at overzealous hockey parents, shaming them for tarring all the parents, although it must be said Grapes has rarely come close to choosing his words as carefully as you have here to make a valid point.

In fairness the message of these spots is less "check yourself" and more "call others on their crap", which is captured in the name of the program: Be More Than A Bystander. Having said that, any advertising message repeated sufficiently often, no matter how noble the intent, runs the risk of growing stale. Accordingly this one may now be approaching such point; AFAIK this is at least the third season of the Lions' involvement with this initiative. I recall just after Lui retired he worked with ICBC to promote their anti-DWI message. At games they'd trot him out in front of a teed up football, outfit him with special goggles that simulated drunkenness and have him fruitlessly flail away, trying to kick the football off the tee. I found it kind of entertaining for a while but it eventually ran its course and ended quietly, much I suppose as this current one will at some point, perhaps even at the end of this season.

A bit O/T but your debby downer angle reminds me of a rather awkward Grey Cup party I attended at a friend's place in 1995. The room was almost nothing but couples. Pretty much every ad break, over and over they ran the same tease for the lead story on that evening's CBC newscast, which was how society was reaching epidemic levels of marital infidelity.

Every time it aired the room was just DEATH. *WORST* GC party ever. And watching a soon-to-be-defunct American team cart away the loot did nothing to squelch the situation. Certainly no one hung around long enough to watch the news.
David wrote:I suspect it has to be shown 'x' number of times on the in-stadium scoreboard as part of their agreement. But I agree. It's a noble cause but a bit of a buzz kill juxtaposed to all the other fun things for which the scoreboard is used throughout the game. In terms of Cause Related Marketing, it earns the club points with women, although as we noticed with Chad Johnson, it paints the club into a corner. Recruits have to be squeaky clean as far as VAW goes, and no margin for error for existing players either (not that I'd want any players on the team who engage in that activity anyway, but if ever there's a he said, she said situation, I think they would need to immediately distance themselves from the player due to their heavy involvement in this cause).

As for the actual campaign, I'm curious about the actual message here. If someone does "stand up" for this sort of thing (armed with some of the tactics they suggest like "knock it off," "that's not cool, man" etc.) and it doesn't end well (i.e. a punch in the face....or worse), what then? Is the club potentially opening itself up for litigation? I get the campaign is about "breaking the silence," but in none of the PSAs do they say anything about "reporting it." It's about dealing with the aggressor.
Sports can be a peculiar thing. When partaking in fiction, like a book or movie, we adopt a "Willing Suspension of Disbelief" for enjoyment's sake. There's a similar force at work in sports: "Willing Suspension of Rationality". If you doubt this, listen to any conversation between rival team fans. You even see it among fans of the same team. Fans argue over who's the better QB or goalie, and selectively cite stats that support their views while ignoring those that don't.

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sj-roc
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Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:05 pm

It seems to me from the videos that get played at the games that the message of the bystander project is about more than just violence. It's also about encouraging people (not just men but also women) to be pro-active in all types of situations where women are being mistreated or disrespected. There's a series of eight videos on the Lions' website (links below) that were released in March (and haven't appeared on the BCP videoboard) where they depict both men and women intervening in different scenarios to confront various objectionable male-to-female behaviours.

These videos are perhaps a little more sobering than the BCP ones where it's usually just a spoken message from one of the players rather than an acted scene. I'm not sure they would ever play any of these at games:

http://www.bclions.com/video/player?id=94993

http://www.bclions.com/video/player?id=94995

http://www.bclions.com/video/player?id=94999

http://www.bclions.com/video/index/id/95001

http://www.bclions.com/video/player?id=95003

http://www.bclions.com/video/player?id=95013

http://www.bclions.com/video/player?id=95015

http://www.bclions.com/video/player?id=95017
Sports can be a peculiar thing. When partaking in fiction, like a book or movie, we adopt a "Willing Suspension of Disbelief" for enjoyment's sake. There's a similar force at work in sports: "Willing Suspension of Rationality". If you doubt this, listen to any conversation between rival team fans. You even see it among fans of the same team. Fans argue over who's the better QB or goalie, and selectively cite stats that support their views while ignoring those that don't.

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