Cleveland Indians “Focus”

Given the “what have you done for me lately”‘ attitude of modern sports fans, it’s risky for a team to promote itself this year by focusing on the swell things it did last year. As such, this spot for the Cleveland Indians is
smart to give a fan-focused twist to its look back at last year’s playoff triumph over the Yankees. Using video of the famous “bug game,” it shows the visiting Yankees being flustered by the insects while the hometown Indians remain stoic. As the Indians’ Fausto Carmona (who made $387,500 last year) strikes out the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez (for whom $387,500 would be pocket change), an onscreen super says, “Our Tribe Is Focused.” When a second super asks “Are You in the Tribe?,” the focus is solely on the cheering fans. One understands that the “Tribe” isn’t just the team, but the larger phenomenon of team + fans + gritty Clevelanders in general. While saluting the team, the spot implicitly flatters the locals for their resolute enthusiasm. Good idea. Whether the Indians are winning or losing (they’ve done more of the latter than the former at the start of this season), rooting for them makes you part of a community that has its own esprit de corps. As a presidential candidate might say, this is one of the things you can cling to when your rust-belt city has become known for empty factories and flammable rivers.–Mark Dolliver