Niagara Gazette


July 25, 2013

MROZIAK: Myths, marketing gaffes and PED pariahs


Niagara Gazette — The new football uniforms aren’t much different. Images of the jersey released online this week show a patch above the front numerals that features a similar scheme: “New York” in larger font, while “Buffalo” may as well be the fine print in a legal disclaimer.

For trying to raise SUNY Buffalo’s status, the athletics department is doing a fine job further blurring Buffalo’s place in New York State.

A high school classmate of mine recalled that while attending UB, her peers jokingly called it “SUNY Long Island,” where the significant population of downstaters only then realized that Buffalo is a lot farther away from New York City than they first thought.

I endured similar ignorance at my alma mater, Ithaca College. When I answered questions regarding where I went to high school, which was Grand Island, I sometimes got a follow-up question: “Is that anywhere near the Hamptons?”

I see this misguided marketing effort by UB as only creating more of the same, not only in terms of geography but in culture. 

Buffalo, and by extension Western New York, is truly a unique culture. This effort to create more of a New York state of mind works against that uniqueness of this region.

The athletic director thinks he’s positioning UB to be marketed as other major universities such as Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State are recognized. He should instead look to examples such as UCLA, Boise State or UNLV: all public institutions that aren’t afraid to put their locale front and center.

If the UB athletics department wants to raise the program’s standing, it needs to keep Buffalo front and center in its marketing theme.

Another thing, it might also help if the team could win.

I am not a teacher, but I have to give this new marketing direction an “F.”

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