By John Huang Contributing Writer for Bluegrass Sports Nation
Those of you old enough to remember the “Let’s Go Krogering” jingle know that the Cincinnati based grocery chain giant has never shied away from hokey marketing promotions. None of us should have been surprised, then, when we heard of Kroger’s latest takeover of the hallowed grounds of our beloved football venue. Out with Commonwealth Stadium and in with Kroger Field. For a mere $1.85 million per year, Kroger bought not only the naming rights, but a direct path to the mind, hearts, and wallets of the Big Blue Wildcat faithful.
As a former business owner and passionate Kentucky fan, I know a thing or two about marketing gimmicks aimed at an adoring sports-loving public. Not that they asked me, but if I were the Kroger University president, here’s what I would propose for my newly minted Kroger Field.
To begin with, I would automate, automate, and automate. Who needs real-live humans at checkout counters when you can slip in a few more robotic self-checkout scanners. I’m thinking huge, here. Let’s get rid of all the blue coated ushers and replace them with holograms of former UK football stars. Imagine Babe Parilli, Tim Couch, or Randall Cobb scanning your tickets, directing you to your seats, or escorting you to the bathrooms for a much-needed potty break.
Speaking of ticket scanning, I would eliminate that aspect altogether by uploading everything onto your Kroger Plus card. For all you forward thinkers, how about an implanted micro-chip? Forgot your ticket? No worries–Just wave your wrist as you walk by the Kroger Cat altar and you’re good to go. Don’t worry either about Big Brother tracking your every move. As a loyal Kroger plus card member, we already know everything about your secret chocolate addiction, toilet paper preference, and underwear size.
We’ll market directly to the average fan by giving them an out-of-this-world gameday experience. No more locally sourced Kentucky Proud concession items, no more overpriced stadium hot dogs, and no more Papa in the house. From now on, all Kroger brand items 10 for $10. Bring on the low-grade sushi and twice fried chicken. Everyone and their brother loves cheap eats while tailgating! All the while, we’ll slam your cellphones with email spam, bogus digital downloads, and self-serving company ads.
Of course, we won’t forget the Kroger bobbleheads, Kroger fireworks, and the Kroger Kiss Cam. Did you know that Kroger now also proudly sells garments from sweatshops located throughout the world? Be sure to pick up a knockoff jersey just outside of Gate 12. Or better yet, head on over to Gate 14 for a two-for-one flu shot. Whether it’s a Redbox movie kiosk after the game, flowers for the Mrs. from our garden center, a Starbucks Espresso Macchiato, or that extra special Best Buy gift card, Kroger Field will have it all for you. Best of all we’ll even provide workable Wi-Fi, so just “click list” your item and it’ll be ready for pickup before Mitch Barnhart wipes off the wet bleachers.
Let’s not stop at the football fanbase. Now that we’ve got our foot in the door, we’ll just help ourselves to all of the university’s existing client base. Hey UK students, forget the local vendors. Come on over to Kroger for all your partying needs. If you’re a UK patient, switch on over to our pharmacy services. Kroger Pharmacy beats out UK Healthcare any day of the week. The university won’t mind. After all, Mitch and Eli personally signed off on this one. Whether Kroger Field or Kroger University, who really cares? A winning football team by any other name would smell just as sleek. Bring on the Kroger scholarships. I can’t wait for the Kroger All American team to be released. The Kroger Bowl is long overdue. The excitement all starts this season at Kroger Field. See you there for the takeover!
John Huang is not really the president of Kroger, although he is a loyal Plus card holder. You can enjoy his writing at www.huangswhinings.com or follow him on Twitter @KYHuangs.