Last season the Devils and their helmet advertiser, Prudential, announced a program to support local Black-owned businesses. The program, called Buy Black, resulted in the New Jersey-based digital platform Razu getting to advertise on the team’s road helmets for 30 road games at no charge.
Today the Devils announced that Buy Black is being renewed and expanded. This year’s featured Buy Black business will be featured as the team’s helmet advertiser for all 41 road games — again, free of charge.
That business is LeGrand Coffee House, a coffee shop in Woodbridge, N.J. It’s run by Eric LeGrand, a former Rutgers football player who suffered a serious on-field spinal injury in 2010.
While the gesture is a nice one, I remain conflicted about this initiative. Is a local coffee shop ad better than a corporate insurance ad? I suppose, but I’d still prefer to see no helmet ad at all. Also, why do they keep relegating these local advertisers to road games? Shouldn’t their ads be worn at home, where home fans can see them? (Yes, I realize the home fans will watch the road games on TV, but it still seems odd to focus on something local and then not feature it at home.)
Meanwhile, the Prudential logo will remain on the team’s home helmets.
(My thanks to Phil for bringing this development to my attention.)
If the Devils themselves made sure to give a free ad like FC Barcelona’s first UNICEF ad or even the Utah Jazz promoting their own charity, it would be great. Instead, the Devils sold out on the helmets so they get no karma points after cashing their checks.
If the old saying goes “You can’t put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig,” I guess this is the lipstick and the whole universe of pro sports uniform advertisements is the pig body.
Road uniforms are best because you will see it better from televised games. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t seem to make out what decals are on the helmets when I’m sitting in the stands watching a game no matter how close to the action my seat may be.
Why not just give each business extensive in-arena/TV broadcast/social media ads? That seems more impactful than a sticker.
It’s OK to be conflicted, but it would not be a bad thing to by some LeGrand Coffee.
His coffee is really good. And I will support just about anything Eric LeGrand does. It’s great that the Devils gave him that slot. But I agree with Paul: it would be better if there was no ad at all.
Might a business owned by a lesser known black business owner have been more impactful?
I really hate pretty much all advertising on uniforms, but I didn’t know Eric Legrand had a coffee shop until this, so I’m happy to learn that at least.
As a black person, I appreciate the gesture, but it’s definitely a token gesture at best. Why not just offer these businesses (ie: this coffee company) vendor space in the arena at a reduced rate, use the company for your own internal functions, or do a quick plug for it during TV broadcasts?
A sticker on a helmet most people won’t pay any attention to (or even if they do, will eventually stop because it just blends into the background) is doing the bare minimum and patting yourself on the back.
The Wizards have a similar program, but they do offer some of the benefits above in addition to extensive and consistent social media exposure.