Brand spanking new Banks tenant and neighbor of the Cincinnati Reds and Great American Ball Park, Christian Moerlein Lager House, place an ill-designed and worded advertisement on page 15 in the April 25 issue of Cincinnati CityBeat. Advertising a special aimed at baseball fans attending this week’s series with the Cubs, the phrase “Wrigley South” was placed in a graphic inspired by the famous marquee at Wrigley Field. As a Reds fan and a proud Cincinnatian, this is a utter punch to the gut.
While “Wrigley South” is a term that GABP earned a few years ago describing how Cubs fans would out number Reds fans during their match-ups in Cincinnati, using that as a concept to advertise your restaurant is utterly ridiculous. Is pulling a little business your way from visiting fans (mostly from Indiana?) for a couple of days while slapping the fanbase that supports you 12 months out of the year across the face worth it? Like you need to advertise IN CINCINNATI to Cubs fans. Or, was that even a consideration… Did you actually think that “Wrigley South” was a general phrase that Reds fans embrace and celebrate? Either way, the Lager House is absolutely SLAMMED before and after Reds games right now. I walked by after Saturday’s win against the Astros (4/28) and the line to just get on the waiting list was wrapping around the building outside. You hardly need gimmicks to get people in door right now.
Not to mention that Christian Moerlein is CINCINNATI’S beer! With a tradition of brewing in Cincinnati going back to 1853, you’d think that Cincinnati pride would be at the top of their priorities. Apparently not.
What shall we do? Boycott? Picket? Tar and feather? Go to Johnny Rockets instead? Whatever, I don’t have time for that crap. It’s our hope at OMGreds that enough Reds fans (and the Cincinnati Reds themselves) put enough heat on the Lager House’s marketing and advertising folks and let them know we’re not going to stand for it. Be a good neighbor. Your neighbors have been outstanding to you since you’ve opened your doors. You have a business to run and investors and/or ownership or whoever to perform for – we get it. You also have a responsibility to be good to your neighbors and to your community.
Bottom line? Don’t alienate your neighbors to speak directly to a bunch of people that were likely already coming to your restaurant to be begin with. Your neighbors and your community won’t stand for it.
Oh, and if we hear that Old Style is on tap at the Lager House bar, we’re going to go bananas. Absolutely bananas. Count on it.
UPDATE 4/30/12 9:32 PM: Christian Moerlein Lager House issued an appology on their Facebook page earlier today in response to the uproar their ad in CityBeat caused:
We admit the upcoming promotion for the next Reds series was unfortunately misguided with respect to message, and we are truly sorry and apologize if we’ve offended any fans.
Our intention was to help cheer on our Reds and give visiting Cubs fans a taste of what makes Cincinnati so special, showcasing our great new riverfront and our city and to bring positive exposure to it. It was not intended to root for the away team, and we apologize if it was taken that way. We are Reds fans through and through. We are going to call this promotional event what it was truly intended to be “a rally for our Reds.”
We personally missed it, but we heard Lager House CEO Greg Hardman went on air this afternoon with Bill Cunningham and apologized to Reds fans.
We’re happy to hear that their intention was not to undermine the pride we all share for our Reds. Given their rich history in Cincinnati, it’s hard to believe they’re anything short of Rabid Redleg Rooters like the rest of us.
Their intended message certainly missed the mark and Reds fans let them know they felt. It’s time to forgive, forget and continue supporting the Lager House and Christian Moerlein beers as well as all our local businesses.