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MSG company takes down dumb, controversial Knicks ads

Nov 7, 2012, 6:50 PM EDT

Fans celebrate as Knicks' Anthony sinks a three-point shot against Heat during NBA basketball game in New York Reuters

Unless you are reading this in the backseat of a Manhattan cab, you probably haven’t seen the Madison Square Garden ads promoting the New York Knicks around the city, on bus stops and such places. Here is what they said:

“It’s Friday night. You can either go out and attempt to pick up sixes and sevens or stay home and watch Kidd dish out dimes.”‘

“It’s Friday night. You can either watch East Village poets do battle or see real artists slam.”

“It’s Friday night. You can either see a Broadway harness malfunctioning or you can watch real men fly.” (This is a reference to the troubled “Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark” production.)

Note to young marketing majors out there: Rule No. 1 is the same as doctors — do no harm. Insulting women, calling the population in your city that you are trying to get to buy tickets/tune in to games ugly, and slamming other things for which your city is well known — arts and Broadway shows — does not go over well. Also, if you’re going to go after Spiderman because of serious injuries to actors in the production, you may not want to put Amare Stoudemire’s pictures on the ad.

The ads created a buzz in New York, but not in a good way for a team trying to promote its product. It’s 3-0 product. Turns out not only were poets incensed they know how to use social media, too. They hammered the Knicks online. The people on Broadway were not thrilled.

So MSG — which owns the Knicks, Madison Square Garden and the network on which their games are broadcast — has pulled the ads, reports Darren Rovell of ESPN.

On Tuesday, the company said it would take down all posters associated with its recent advertising campaign, which generated buzz but also was considered controversial.

Keep winning and the Knicks will have no trouble getting people to go to games and tune in to broadcasts. In an Eastern Conference where the Pacers just took a blow, we can start to think that maybe the Knicks are a top four seed in the conference. Long way to go but right now you can see that path for them.

So maybe a little less is more marketing? Let the product speak for itself? If not, at least do no harm.

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