Peter Madden Talks Bryce Harper Marketing

Peter Madden, CEO of AgileCat, called in to SportsRadio 94WIP to chat with Angelo Cataldi and give his take on the Bryce Harper marketing extravaganza that has enthralled Philadelphia. Listen here or read the full transcript below:

Angelo Cataldi (AC): Alright 9:25. We have had a whole bunch of questions about the business of “branding” and what a name means and how it sells things and we said, “why don’t we get a guy on whose job it is to brand, who is brilliant at it?” — the CEO of AgileCat, a great advertising agency right here in the city, is Peter Madden. Hi Pete!

Peter Madden (PM): Ang, how ya doing?

AC: Ah, it’s great to talk to you. Pete, did you see this coming with Bryce Harper? Did you realize that brand was going to sell the way it has so far?

PM: 110%, Ang. And Mr. Middleton is calling it “stupid money,” — I think it’s “brilliant money.” Because look, the Phillies are worth $1.7 billion today. In Bryce Harper’s time here, I promise you that team will be north of $3 billion. John Middleton is a genius.

AC: Wow! Now Pete, what is it about Bryce that makes people want to spend their money in this city?

PM: Look, he’s the superstar of superstars — cover of Sports Illustrated at the age of 16! My brother Matt was just telling me that. Unbelievable. And his hunger and his humility. He is so Philly because Philly loves authenticity. He is the most highly marketable athlete in the MLB, easy. Because though he’s not literally clean cut, figuratively he’s perfect. Married the high school sweetheart, doesn’t drink or smoke, he hustles, and that hunger, and man his actions do the talking. Any brand would love to be associated with him. And guess what folks? Philly has him.

AC: Alright now, Pete. Al Morganti has a fascinating theory: that the build-up that took three months actually made it a bigger thing and made more people want to spend their money. Is he right?

PM: He’s 100 percent correct. And Al knows what the heck he’s talking about, obviously. The build-up, the anticipation — it was so Philly. We were like, “ah we’re never gonna get him/yes we’re going to get him,” I saw you tweet about it, Angelo.” I’m sick of talking about it! But man, when it happened, talk about, just as Middleton said, surreal. And what he’s going to do for this team, I’m telling you. Trout’s going to be here in a couple years; he’s the perfect bait for a trout. And it’s just going to be unbelievable what we see. Look at the ticket sales. $4 million in the first 24 hours. And that will continue and people will be flying into this town from all over the country to watch Bryce go to that ballpark. It’s going to be incredible. Welcome to 2008 all over again!

AC: Pete, I got to ask you this. Because we had this debate about Machado, and he had come out — and I’m guessing if you represented Machado, you would not have advised him to tell everyone just before he became a free agent that he was not going to hustle. Was that a dumb thing by Machado?

PM: You know Philly. We might as well have hustle written across our foreheads. And we need hustle. We loved Chase. I mean jeez, Roy Halladay, the ultimate Phillie if you will. What Bryce did in that press conference: to honor him, to honor his family, was just so smart. And you know what: it was authentic. You could tell he meant it: the respect for Roy, the respect for the game. I think half the people watching that press conference — and by the way I think two million streamed it — I bet they had tears in their eyes at that notion. You could feel it right away. I’ve never seen a Philly athlete engender themselves to a fan base within moments. Within one sentence right there. Perfect

AC: Alright now Pete, you do branding right?

PM: Every day

AC: You’re watching that and going, “wow this is the perfect message. He’s honoring a former Phillie; he’s a Phillie now.” Is that something you can teach a guy to do or is it just organic?

PM: I’ve media trained athletes in the past and everything I got out of Bryce is a guy who is not trained. This is who he is, this is who he’s been, and it’s unbelievable to watch. It’s just so cool. This is such a great moment to be in Philly right now. And these Phillies are going to knock us out and I guarantee two world championships within five years. That’s exactly what I think’s going to happen here.

AC: Hold on. You’re saying we’re going to have two more parades in the next five years, Pete?

PM: Well there’s already been one parade. I just saw John Middleton on Broad Street throwing money all over the place and drinking a hurricane in honor of Fat Tuesday, but I have no doubt. I mean this off season, what Matt Klentak did was just so brilliant and the exclamation point on this off-season was Bryce Harper. Number three. The number one selling jersey of all time in any sport; are you kidding?! Part of those sales are due to the fact that of course it’s Babe Ruth’s number but it’s also Allen Iverson’s number. Mr. Hustle. There’s people that aren’t even Phillies fans that are big A.I. fans, guarantee it.

AC: Alright Pete, last thing because you know you’re in this city, you’ve been here, you were at the parade when the Eagles won.

PM: Absolutely.

AC:  Is there any way the Phillies can compete or top the Philadelphia Eagles in that five-year period? Can they become bigger in the city than the eagles?

PM: I think they absolutely can. I think if anything, the Eagles’ great success, their performance, their championship, and that parade, inspired a lot of jealousy from the Phillies. I really do. And you can sense it hearing from Middleton — you hear that hunger, you hear that humility. They want it, he wants his bleeping trophy, he’s going to get his trophy. But most importantly, this Bryce signing, here’s what it’s really going to do: parents having babies. You’re going see Bryce be the number one name in the next number of years while he is here. Harper will be a big name for girls. ‘Cause I’ve got to tell you guys: from Cherry Hill to Lansdale to Villanova, I’ve met more 11 and 12-year old boys named Chase, Cole, and Shane. That’s how this city operates. It’s going to be awesome.

AC: Alright Pete, before you go, I’ve got to just tell you how smart that comment was. We work with a woman named Ava Grant and she informed her boyfriend that — well, Ava, tell Pete Madden from AgileCat what your first boy’s name is going to be.

Ava Grant: According to my boyfriend, it’s Bryce.

AC: Bryce! Pete, you’re right!

PM: I’m a genius! I’m a genius! I’m reading minds.

AC: After hearing you talk, I bet some people are naming their kids Peter.

PM: You never know. It’s possible.

Ava Grant: And our girl will be Harper.

PM: Harper is a great name for a girl! Forget it.

AC: Pete is wheeling and dealing. Pete, always a pleasure man. Thank you, my friend. AgileCat!

PM: God bless.

AC: That’s the CEO man; he’s the wheeler and dealer. He knows what he’s talking about. And uh, the build-up helped!