Three strikes and you’re out. Today’s error is strike 2, of those made in the past 90 days when it comes to Texas A&M’s entrance into the Southeastern Conference (SEC). “Hey Aggies, did you hear the one about the new SEC Texas Aggies Bulldogs Football hat?” Undoubtedly, this statement is bound to achieve viral status before day’s end.
No surprise, since Aggies are legendary for “Good Bull,” stories with the joke usually on “them” (including all current and former students of Texas A&M). Occasionally there’s cause for poking fun, but today’s latest major marketing error wasn’t Texas A&M’s fault. Seriously, it’s not. In just the past few hours, the web link that showed a product in the SEC online store for a “Texas A&M Bulldogs Hat” for sale has already been corrected.
This morning, the web site www.deadspin.com carried a post by Jack Dickey that shows the “Adidas Texas A&M Aggies 2012 Coaches Sideline Performance Flex Hat – Maroon” for sale. On the front is the “beveled” ATM logo known well to Aggies everywhere; on the side is the “adidas” logo that signifies the relationship between the Aggies and the beloved apparel company. On the back, however, it said “Bulldogs Football” rather than Texas A&M Football. Not only has the photo been corrected, the SECSTORE.COM product is now listed as “discontinued.”
The error was emblematic of how new Texas A&M is to the Southeastern Conference (SEC), in its first month of membership, along with the University of Missouri, also a refugee from the Big 12 Conference. Despite 14 days of preparing Aggie fans to become part of the SEC, and the SEC Media Days celebration, apparently someone at the SEC Athletics online store didn’t realize that it was Mississippi State University whose mascot is a bulldog. Perhaps they were confused. Oh, and it’s also the mascot of Louisiana Tech.
Strike one, or the first error, was made by local business Aggieland Outfitters, in their preparation of a t-shirt design reflecting the SEC states before expansion that included North Carolina, which is, of course, not in the SEC. The business made a simple error but the media took it viral and since everyone loves a good Aggie joke, no one loves a good one better than Aggies. In fairness to Aggieland Outfitters, they posted an explanation and apology:
Many members of the media, especially those connected to other schools in Texas, have insinuated that Texas A&M made these shirts, and that Texas A&M doesn’t know geography. That’s simply not true. Aggieland Outfitters designed the shirt and simply made a mistake.
The shirt was good for a smile, but something even better than that has been revealed in past weeks: a sense of humor (albeit an anonymous one, or more) that hides behind a Twitter account named “@TAMUS_Regents.”
No telling who is actually behind the account that Tweets humorous thoughts and comments as food for thought in the midst of a boring day. Presently, their bio says, “Not the real Board of Regents. As if they could actually figure out Twitter.” Their city of origin is listed as: “Wherever Rick Perry tells us.” As of today the faux Regents had 1,645 tweets and they have 2,309 followers. The photo in the upper corner shows the photos of the (real) current Texas A&M Regents, arranged in a “Brady Bunch”-type photo array.
The faux Regents follow only nine fellow Twitter-ers, which appear to be (most of them) send-ups: “Rick Perry-ish,” Rick Perry Facts,” “Team Rick Perry,” “Rick Perry News,” “Not the Gov of TX,” and “RickPerryPR,” “Texas A&M for Perry” and “Office of Gov Perry,” as well the unequivocal “Rick Perry’s Hair.”
All of this would fall into the category of just typical Texas political and topical education-based humor, with the exception of a recent post related to the new Texas A&M football uniform. Aggies take their football seriously, and frankly, lately it’s been an unqualified media circus for anything related to Texas A&M, football, and the SEC.
If you think that’s not the case, note the recent pay-to-view “12th Man TV” web site devoted to seeing “live” the unveiling of the football uniform on July 12, for diehard Aggie fans. Following this came a rousing discussion of whether or not the “T” in the “ATM” should be beveled. Seriously. Feelings run long and strong regarding beveling. Google and see for yourself.
On July 27, the TAMUS_Regents team-guru-webmaster-humor czar posted: “We heard the NBA is going to start putting ads on their uniforms. If the NCAA ever allows that, we’ll be ready. http://yfrog.com/nud63pmj .”
Of course, the ads on the mock uniform include all the Aggie media partners, not that they’d all appreciate their ad placement.
But it’s all in the name of humor and “good bull” that Aggies seek and find on the Internet daily any opportunity to smile. It may also be time for Educational Administration Professor Emeritus and archivist of Aggie humor, Dr. John R. Hoyle, Aggie Class of ’57, to fire up the computer for a future book, “Good Bull: Volume 4.”
Football season begins one month from today when the Aggies travel to Shreveport, Louisiana, to face the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, not to be confused with the Mississippi State Bulldogs, who the Aggies will play on November 3rd, not to be confused with the Texas A&M Bulldogs, which don’t exist, except on a few discontinued hats, by now likely safely tucked away in a waste container. Welcome to the SEC, Ags.