Amid a season dominated by stories horrific (Ray Rice knocking out his fiancee), silly (Marshawn Lynch’s golden cleats), and odd (“Deflategate”), the Patriots’ “Do Your Job” motto feels refreshingly no-nonsense.
That might explain why fans have snapped up Pats’ merchandise bearing the mantra, particularly the team’s new “Do Your Job” pompom hat, which has already been declared the playoff winner.
“We are trying to keep pace with it, but it is very hard,” said Jessica Gelman, vice president of customer marketing and retail strategy, who says the hats have been flying off shelves. “It’s been lightning in a bottle.”
The truth is, “Do Your Job” has been a Bill Belichick refrain for years, a shorthand that tells players and anyone else to buckle down and get focused. More recently the team decided to work the saying into its retail offerings.
Since it debuted at the beginning of January, Gelman and her team have sold “thousands and thousands and thousands” of knit hats. It’s a well-timed extension of the “Do Your Job” men’s and women’s T-shirts that have also become bestsellers.
“The men’s T-shirt is our top seller by 200 percent,” said Gelman.
But Paul Swangard, managing director of Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon, said the primary goal isn’t to make money, though that’s nice, too. It’s loyalty.
“The return on that investment is probably more intangible than tangible,” Swangard said. “The more engaged you have your fans, the more they consume your product. The value is eyeballs, their loyalty transferred to a sponsor paying a premium for that association.”
Wearing the merchandise, Swangard said, is an example of “BIRGing” (Basking In Reflected Glory). It’s the idea that fans wear the hats to associate themselves with “that chance to be part of a team’s success.”
But a Patriots loss, Swangard said, might lead fans to jump off that bandwagon.
“Fans don’t show up to work Monday [wearing the hat] if they lost,” he said.
Jill Radsken can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org