Dime-A-Dawg

One of the promotions minor league sports’ franchises use is Dime-A-Dawg (Buck-A-Brat, etc.). Although owned by the majors, individual franchisees absorb the cost of this marketing ploy. Supermarkets do a variation called “loss leaders”, fast food restaurants run limited time specials, etc. The majority of fast, and almost fast, food establishments are franchises with a corporate headquarters (foreign or US). Individual locations are either corporately owned (and operated) outright or privately, in terms of the franchisee purchasing the franchise and access to the brand. With a non franchise, the restaurateur must supply the chef (if not the owner), the menu, marketing, take care of all the logistics of obtaining ingredients, facilities, servers, promotion, etc.; whereas a franchisee “purchases” most of these through the brand, the franchise agreement. The business becomes primarily one of management, providing technicians trained to do prearranged specific food prep, service, or clean up, etc. The menu, facilities, ingredient sourcing, promotion, etc. are all facilitated by the corporate brand (in order to maintain brand homogeneity). Occasionally grumblings surface when the franchisee must absorb the cost of a brand promotion orchestrated by the parent company (if the box of 100 hot dogs sold and delivered by the corporate office cost the franchisee $12.00, then Dime-A-Dawg loses money for the franchisee while continuing to make money for the corporate brand). Americans appear to prefer running for the border or sitting in the drive thru line at Mickey D’s rather than “trying” an unfamiliar non franchise, especially when traveling.

PACs are analogous to corporate fast food brand franchising. Dime-A-Dawg highlights the difference between the two. With PACs, as with the commercial brands, the primary marketing is of brand distinction to the largest possible base. The national PAC is analogous to a corporate home office. That is where the brand image is fashioned, jealously maintained and financed. It is where the money decisions flow. Because of America’s unique character, state PACs align with the national corporate headquarters while maintaining a certain autonomy. Local PACs are the day to day interface that benefit from brand identity by marketing it in the every day. Dime-A-Dawg produces the same loss leader situation for the local PAC as it does for franchisees of other businesses. The local has to summarily absorb the loss while corporate HQ benefits completely. Newark is no exception to what other local governments in Ohio face. Dime-A-Dawg has the state PAC celebrating a projected state route interchange while the local Newark franchisee takes a loss, unable to maintain deteriorating infrastructure such as paving its own streets (kinda like after a heavy snow the major highways get cleared while the residential streets are required to wait for the next thaw). Dime-A-Dawg exposes the true franchise nature of a democracy that is exclusively governed by PACs. Local elected officials swear by their sacred commitment to the needs of area residents while actively maintaining the priority of a practice that strictly adheres to the corporate brand’s marketing, which ultimately takes precedence.

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