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Gold Coast Suns

The Gold Coast Suns

Not giving the public what it wants

One of the basic rules of marketing is to give people what they want. Another rule of marketing is that it takes 6-12 times as many resources to find a new customer as it does to develop an existing one. In 2008, the AFL decided that the marketing rules were outdated and needed to be cast aside. Consequently, instead of putting a team Tasmania where Australian football was the sport of choice for most of its 485,300 residents, the AFL decided to put a team on the Gold Coast, where rugby league was the sport of choice for most of its 466,651 residents. In a nutshell, the AFL decided it could make more money by finding new customers in a market where people don't want Australian football instead of developing their product in a market where they do.

To overcome the challenge of being based in a small market where the majority of the population was hostile to the game it plays, the new club decided it needed to be bold, innovative and different in its decision making. The first innovative idea was to present nicknames, such as Stingrays, Marlins, Ironmen, the Rays and the Guards, for community feedback. An interactive online poll on the club's website found that 55% supported Marlins, 35% supported Stingrays and almost no one supported the others. A poll by the Gold Coast Bulletin found that 95% were in favour of Marlins.

For one reason or another, the club wasn't too pleased with the community approval given to Marlins and declared that since no clear favourite had been picked, the club would not have a moniker at all. Instead the name would just be called the Gold Coast. According to GC17 bid team leader John Witheriff,

"We had overwhelming support, around 95 per cent, from the public for the name Gold Coast -- it was always the 'Gold Coast somethings".

Aside from finding it odd that the club disregarded market research on the moniker which clearly favoured Marlins, outsiders also found it odd to say that any name other than Gold Coast was under consideration. After all, to place a team on the Gold Coast and give it the name of a different city would be as stupid as asking the community to give feedback for a moniker, getting a strong statement of approval for one moniker, and then ignoring what they say.

To Gold Coast residents; however, it was understandable that a different city had been considered for the name because the same thing happened previously. In 1987, the Brisbane Bears were established on the Gold Coast. Why marketing boffins choose to base the team on the Gold Coast but have Brisbane in its name can only be attributed to another case of Queensland intellect at its finest. Needless to say, when Gold Coast residents found out that another AFL team would be given to them, they feared history could repeat and the new team might be called Cairns, Darwin or even Alice Springs.

Naturally, the club's decision to disregard community feedback, basic principles of marketing and logic of any kind, led to it being the subject of criticism. In defence of their innovative ways, Witheriff said,

"This is a new club -- and like the Coast we are a little bit cheeky, brash, we are not traditionalists and we don't do things just because other places do it that way.

"So we thought why don't we just do something that is different, unique and very Gold Coast?"

Gazza Gold Coast

To further reinforce the innovative "very Gold Coast" image, the club created an unofficial mascot named "Gary Clifford Irons". Gary, or “Gazza” as the Gold Coast bid team affectionately referred to him, was reportedly "a mild-mannered lifesaver during the week but a superhero footy fanatic on the weekends."

Presumably, the club decided that coming up with childish ideas was the best way to get the kids on board. A cynic could have argued that being too childish would keep away the self-respecting parents that pay for the children's tickets. In which case, it might have been un-wise to publicise Gazza in newspapers read by adults and at a time that adults are still forming their image of the club.

The design of Gazza was also a little on "the mild mannered" side. Gazza's delicate and clean shaven legs were drawn to make him look very haughty and a little afraid of touching the footy. Perhaps as well as targeting the kids, the Gold Coast team was also targeting the Gold Coast's testosterone-challenged men.

Recognising that it did in fact need a bit of grunt, the club did in fact do something innovative by signing rugby league player Karmichael Hunt, or Khunt as he was affectionately known. With legs the size of tree trunks, he proved himself to be a bit of an axe on the field as he showed AFL players what rugby league players meant by going into battle. The fans loved it.

 The club also recognised that Gold Coast Somethings wasn't that clever afterall and it settled on the Suns. It wasn’t the most innovative of names, and definitely not what a marketing guru with pointy shoes and a poney tail would have suggested, but sometimes the simple things are best. The logo design seemed to reference the rising sun logo of the Australian army, and perhaps reflected a desire to do at least one thing traditional and safe. Alternatively, it also had a bit of the rising sun of the Japanese flag, and perhaps reflected a desire to pull Japanese tourists away from the koala bears that the Gold Coast had bad memories of.

 

Gold Coast Theme Song

We are the suns of the Gold Coast sky
We are the one in the red, gold and blue
We are the mighty Gold Coast Suns
We play to win the flag for you

Fight! Fight! Fight! Till we hold up the cup
Run, run, run all the way
We are the suns of the Gold Coast sky
We’re the team who never say die!

Verdict: The Tigers can relax in the knowledge that they still have the best song. West Coast can also relax in the knowledge that they no longer have the worst.

Jokes

1) There is a Gold Coast psychiatrist that has a thriving practice, particularly during the football season. He tried an idea-association test on a patient and asked her what came to mind when she thought of something brown, firm and had smooth curves. " A football" said the patient immediately. "Good. And what comes to mind when two arms slide around your waste?" "An illegal tackle" was the instant reply. "Now picture a firm set of thighs" "a full back!" "Top marks" said the psychiatrist. "Your answers are perfectly normal. You would be surprised by some of the silly answers I get."

2)If it takes an IQ of 60 to tie shoelaces, why do so many Suns fans wear thongs?

Rivalries

The presumption is that they will have a rivalry with the Brisbane Lions once they get better. Perhaps the Lions, with their Fitzroy heritage, may be portrayed as the Melbourne import. The meeting between the teams has been marketed as the "Qclash" for those who have trouble with spelling, or the "Queensland Clash" for those who paid attention in school.

About the Gold Coast region

Sex sells and it sells even better when the customer has an excuse to justify to themselves that they aren't really hunting for sex. In the case of the Gold Coast, 70km of sand is much like the articles of a Playboy magazine in that both allow consumers to pursue their carnal desires all the while pretending that they are pure of mind like everyone else.

The Gold Coast's beach excuse is perhaps most prevalent at the end of the school year when teenagers book out the hotels for the annual "schoolies" celebrations. This basically involves school leavers from around Australia saying that they want to celebrate with their fiends, when in truth they want to apply the lessons on how to use a condom that they learnt in their sex education classes. Fortunately or unfortunately, some never get to apply the lessons because, in order to build up the courage to apply the theory, the youngsters drink so much alcohol that they become functionally incapable. Additionally, some become so covered in vomit that finding a willing partner is more of a challenge that keeping the carrot chunks where they should be.

Sometimes more senior citizens try to get involved in the schoolies celebrations; presumably to either guide the school leavers into adulthood or to protect the school leavers from adulthood. These seniors are generally known as "toolies" and are seen as either wowsers trying to spoil a good time, or perverts out for a good time. In both cases, they are mostly seen as unwelcome.

While the motivations of the youngsters are conspicuous, all year round Gold Coast hotels are full of people coming for a patch of sand that tends to be more crowded, more expensive and less beautiful that thousands of other beaches around Australia. Every year, around 850,000 international visitors and 3.5 million Australians stay at least one night in a Gold Coast Hotel. The high number of international visitors is easy to explain considering that most would be coming from countries that have highly polluted beaches or no beaches at all. The high number of Australians is a bit more difficult to explain considering that 85% of Australians already live within 50km of the ocean.

Perhaps the domestic tourists are looking for things that are not so commonly found on other Australian beaches. Specifically, lots of toned men running along as if they were auditioning for a part in Baywatch. Sometimes the men stop, stare longingly towards the ocean, and raise their chin as if in an aftershave commercial. Additionally, the Gold Coast has lovely ladies strolling along the beach in the morning sun, but who don’t seem to have any interest in beach life except for being seen on it. For whatever reason, these scenes seem to be more alluring that a deserted beach populated with the occasional wallaby or hermit crab.

Meter maids are another unique attraction on the Gold Coast. These are women who are paid to wear bikinis and then walk around putting coins in parking meters that are soon to expire. The meter maids started as a government initiative in 1965, but are now run by a private company.

The combination of beach views and considerate meter maids perhaps explains why the Gold Coast is the fastest growing urban centre in Australia. In 2012, its population was almost 600,000. Because there is limited employment outside of hospitality, there seems to be something other than work attracting migrants to the region.

 

 

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  Was this more interesting than a news update of players in a recovery session standing around in the ocean looking cold or of a team 'training without incident'?