That is the new slogan of the Kansas City Royals. That’s it.
Before you ask, of course it references the insanely popular Lorde song, “Royals.” Just a hunch…but the Royals will probably play that song at Kauffman Stadium way too much this season (the season is so close now that it just feels right to say “this season.”).
As Sam Mellinger pointed out in his article, the Royals organization will never admit that the slogan ties into the #1 hit, but c’mon. Six months after a song featuring the lyrics “we can never be royals” spends nine weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and the club innocently announces that their campaign slogan is ”Be Royal.” We’re not stupid.
The slogan was developed by Kansas City-based ad agency Walz Tetrick Advertising (WTA), who also developed last year’s “Come to Play” campaign. Last year’s campaign featured a pair of super-sweet highway billboards that literally broke the fourth wall. One showed James Shields throwing a fastball. The other showed the fastball literally tear a billboard in half on its way to catcher Salvador Perez (below).
Clearly WTA knows what it’s doing. The Kansas City Royals didn’t just pick some local company to please the business community; they picked an effective marketer (That isn’t so surprising because, if you don’t know, Kansas City is kind of like ad-agency Mecca). So, when the Royals announced the slogan “Be Royal,” we can safely assume someone said, “hey, make it like that song.” Yet, even though no one cares, the Royals and the ad agency felt the need to act like this wasn’t a shallow opportunistic scheme.
In the press release explaining the slogan, Michael Bucek, Royals Vice President-Marketing and Business Development said,
As a team and a community, we proved to ourselves that we have what it takes to live up to the name on the front of our jerseys.
The press release went brand-overload by also quoting WTA president Charlie Tetrick,
So when you put on a Royals jersey, that means something. It means you’re going to play with confidence. And when fans put on their jerseys, they’re going to come out to the K, make noise, support their team and create a true home field advantage. That’s what baseball in Kansas City is all about. It’s in our blood. That’s what it means to Be Royal.
For a two-word slogan, it sounds like it holds an awful lot of subtext.
No one, and I mean no one, will see the slogan and think, “You know…that makes me think they’ll play with confidence this year, like they really live up to the name on the front of their jerseys.”
They’ll say, “Oh. Like the song.”
At least it also has a super-sweet billboard.