June 16, 2010 12:22 AM | 14 Comments
wrigley-noodle.jpg By Paul Sullivan
The Cubs aren’t making any changes on the field yet, but they’re definitely making some noise off the field.
An unusual, new advertisement art appeared on the west side of Wrigley Field on Tuesday night, just a few yards to the north of the Ernie Banks’ statue near Clark and Addison Streets. The piece is meant to resemble a large, yellow, elbow macaroni noodle, and has the slogan “You know you love it” written across it.
“Noodle art,” Cubs executive vice-president of marketing Wally Hayward said before Tuesday’s rain-delayed game against Oakland.
Curious fans snapped pictures next to the giant noodle before Tuesday’s game, wondering what it was supposed to represent.
The new ad is meant to advertise Kraft’s macaroni-and-cheese dinners, but it didn’t receive anywhere near the kind of fanfare the Toyota sign did when it was unveiled in the left field bleachers last Friday. There was no controversy, no announcement and no logo to inform people of what it’s there for.
As the Cubs continue to flounder in the Central Division, the Ricketts’ family is finding new ways of bringing in revenue for a team with the second-highest payroll in baseball.
“We’ll continue to generate incremental revenue for the ballclub so we can continue to help the performance on the field,” Hayward said. “And we’ll continue to renovate and preserve Wrigley Field for the next generation of fans.
“It’s outside the ballpark. It’s out along the street. It’s creating a lot of excitement. People are googling ‘You know you love it,’ and it takes them to the Kraft mac-and-cheese web site…It’s a nice way to bring in a corporate partner at a significant deal without doing anything inside the ballpark.”
Hayward took umbrage at the suggestion the Cubs are turning Wrigley Field into the Wisconsin Dells. He pointed to the billboards on buildings outside the ballpark which create revenue for others, but not the Cubs.
Hayward declined to say how much the Cubs were getting from Kraft, but since it’s outside the park it won’t make nearly as much as the estimated $2.5 million from the Toyota sign. Hayward said the noodle would be in place for the rest of the season.
Hayward is hoping the Noodle can become Wrigleyville’s version of ‘the Bean,’ the Millennium Park sculpture that has become an iconic part of Chicago.
“We were generating nothing, and found a creative way to introduce it, and it’s a great way for Kraft to create buzz,” Hayward said.
The ads aren’t the only changes. The Cubs have also stopped playing organ music to introduce their players when they come to the plate. Now they have taped music, like most other ballparks. The marketing department picks the songs for now. Koyie Hill, for instance was introduced with Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” on Tuesday.
Eventually the players will select their own music.
“That motivates people when they go to home plate,” Alfonso Soriano said. “I’ll wait to pick the perfect song, and I’ll be excited when I go to the plate.”