Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, best known for their membership in the long-running heavy metal band KISS, are reportedly part of an ownership group that will bring an Arena Football League team to Los Angeles, CA. As reported by USA Today and ESPN, the team will start playing in March, be called the LA KISS, and use the band's logo.
While Simmons maintains that the branding of the new team won't be overbearing — in that it will, in fact, operate like a regular football team, albeit bearing the KISS moniker — one can't help but appreciate the crafty marketing that's going on here. After all, KISS has always been known for its merchandise efforts, which earned the band an estimated $100 million in its early years.
It is also known for its ability to stay relevant. When the band was in a period of decline in the early 1980s, they mixed things up by discarding the face masks. Then, when it came time for a reunion of the original lineup in 1996, the masks came back, giving an early years feel to a band who had been struggling for years. Essentially, Simmons and co. know how to generate headlines so that KISS semi-regularly makes a news cycle.
Of course, I don't doubt Simmons' and Stanley's stated intentions of wanting to see pro football back in LA, after losing its previous AFL team in 2009. I'm sure they love the idea on its own merits. However, having your band's name and logo plastered everywhere is almost always meant as a marketing tactic for your main product. That's why so many companies purchase naming rights for stadiums. They may indeed like the sport that hosted in the venue they're sponsoring, but they also want to remind everyone that they exist so they can gain more customers.
That's what KISS is doing by sponsoring this team, reminding everyone that they're still around and touring. And I think its a genus move that continues a long tradition of KISS marketing themselves in any way possible (need I remind anyone of the KISS Kasket?). Good game, KISS. Literally, good game.