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“It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
You’ve probably said this at one time or another – while slapping yourself on the forehead for doing something that backfired.
Believe me, the athletic department understands.
In the spring, the marketing staff decided to revise the football season ticket application it mails out every year. So they produced a glossy, full-color brochure. It was beautifully done, if we do say so ourselves. It included the 1999 football schedule; plus information on ticket plans, travel packages and group sales; information on buying basketball tickets and the application itself.
All in all, it was exciting, informative, fun to read and guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping. But it didn’t work. Some 3,000 people threw it away by mistake.
That’s what athletic director Mike Garrett discovered in late May when he learned that football season ticket renewals were down by 9,000 from the same period in 1998 – and that was coming off an improved season. The 9,000 unsold tickets represented 3,000 season ticketholders.
After looking into the problem, Garrett could only shake his head in disbelief.
“The ticket office was swamped with calls from people asking when we were going to mail them the application,” Garrett says. “We had wanted to make the application more user-friendly, and all we did was confuse them.
“Everyone is so busy these days. We get buried in mail and try to sift through it as fast as possible. All those people didn’t realize the brochure contained the ticket application.”
True, the booklet’s cover boldly spelled out its purpose: “Your Ticket to USC Football – New/Renewal Season and Individual Game Order Form,” it proclaimed.
Still, many people missed the point.
“If you threw the brochure away, you’re not the Lone Ranger,” Garrett says. “You have 3,000 friends. But, in reality, it’s our fault. We should have remembered that old proverb: Keep it simple, stupid.”

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