#827: The Official Collagen of the Chicago Cubs and Other Dumb Corporate Partnerships

August 9th, 2017

Wrigleyville when the Cubs aren’t playing is a desolate place.

The economy has girded itself to boom and bust. The lines of bars stand vacant, save for a barkeep idly tapping an iPad or a geared-up waitress in V-neck T and skirt staring longingly out the window. The empty merch stores get a rare chance to straighten their wares and even the beggars seem content to let the odd passerby go unquestioned.

At the field that feeds the neighborhood, the TV screens on the upper level outdoor bar patio show a multicolor test pattern, as the famous Wrigley sign sings an electronic message to lonely, fanless streets:

“Vital Proteins, Official Collagen of the Chicago Cubs”

It’s no secret that sponsorships are a major deal for the major league. Sports teams are expensive to run, and the Cubs are no exception.

The team has three levels of partnership: Legacy, Official and Proud. Legacy is the most spendy, with an annual investment of at least  a million a year for at least 10 years. Official is in the hundreds of thousands to $1 million range. Proud is for the cheapos who only pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to have the 2016 World Series Champions linked ever so tenuously with your Schaumburg-based independent insurance agency.

Some make perfect sense. People drink pop at games, of course team up with Pepsi. Teams stay in hotels when they travel, so hello Sheraton/Starwood Preferred Guest. Of course mustard, grilling and beer.

Others make sense with some light mental gymnastics. Binny’s isn’t “the Official Liquor Store” but “the Official Champagne Provider.” Champagne, popping champagne, victory, got it. Hefty® Ultimate™ Crack Resistant Cups as “the Official Party Cup” is a stretch, but this short video of an old lady chugging a brown liquid designed specifically not to look like beer at least explains what they’re going for.

But the official aluminum foil? Aside from the fact Reynolds and Hefty are the same company, is there an intrinsically “Cub” method of making sure your lasagna doesn’t get freezer burn? (And I’m not talking about this.)

So here are a list of a few official, legacy or proud partners of the Cubs and why the team-up doesn’t make sense.


Vital Proteins, Official Collagen of the Chicago Cub

Why it doesn’t make sense:

A bit of background: Collagen peptide supplements are made from mammal cartilage, bones and hides or fish bones, skin and scales. They’re advertised as having a slate of benefits from moisturizing skin to promoting joint health to fighting bum cellulite or improving muscle mass in elderly men with sarcopenia, but even the fluffiest of news sources give it a resounding “maybe” over whether the supplements do anything on their own. The consensus appears to be “Sure, why not? Just eat healthy and exercise and you can throw any fish scales down your gullet you please.”

Whether it works is not my issue. My issue is that, although they try their damnedest in their communications to “emphasize the importance of clean protein sources while helping players lead healthier, fuller lives,” Vital Proteins’ collagen peptide line is less about the joints of professional athletes and more about skin care for the type of people who “Make every day a spa day with our delicious and nutritious line of Collagen Beauty Water™”

Maybe any company that has to footnote every claim on every product line on every page of its website with “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease” should stick away from associating with professional sports teams.


Beam Suntory, Official Spirits Partner of the Chicago Cubs

Why it doesn’t make sense:

In one way this makes perfect sense because a huge portion of Wrigley’s business is aging suburbanite dudebros who amble to town to get trrrrrrrrrashed at a ballpark. Give ‘em a Jim Beam and Pepsi, Effen Vodka and Pepsi or Maker’s Mark and Pepsi in a Hefty brand Official Party Cup and watch the money flow in!

But it also is loudly advertising that a huge portion of Wrigley’s business is aging suburbanite dudebros who amble to town to get trrrrrrrrrashed at a ballpark.

At least keep the pretense of being about baseball, the same way Hooters keeps up the pretense of being about hot wings. No one is really buying it, but we all appreciate the facade.


Impact Networking, Official Provider of Digital Office Equipment and Managed Print Services

Why it doesn’t make sense:

Because this conversation has never happened:

“Daddy, someday can I rely on the latest technologies to faster and more accurately capture data, including DocuWare, SmartSearch, eCopy and Autostore?”

(Fatherly chuckle and affectionate ruffling of hair)

“Just like Kris Bryant?”

“Just like Kris Bryant.”


Sloan Valve, Official Water Efficiency Partner

Why it doesn’t make sense:

Wrigley Field is famous for troughs in lieu of urinals in the mens rooms. You have associated your brand with antiquated urination systems, Sloan. Tesla doesn’t sponsor horses and you shouldn’t hitch your wagon to a plumbing system that, while beloved, is best described as a “piss trough.”

Learn more about the Chicago Cubs’ owners’ ties to Trump

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