We have spent many a blogpost and fanzine article down the years hideously criticising the club's marketing department. And rightly so. But, credit where it's due, the club's new half season ticket advert is a stunning sign of how far we've come.
It is nothing short of wonderful. Sure, the 'actors' could still do with some training - especially the parents - and Kazenga could do with some lessons in how to avoid uncomfortably hugging a child. But seeing this advert yesterday added yet another string to Albion's latest wonderful weekend bow.
The credit to the club is not just confined to this advert. Much of the credit comes from the incredible decision to create and distribute for free these pop-up desktop players. Whoever came up with that deserves a massive pay rise, and the contrast with some marketing decisions of the past could not be greater (the best free gift since the play-off clackers, perhaps).
When I was a lad, the closest I got to collectible Albion players was a half page in Panini's Football League '95-'96 sticker book (there were only three stickers the following season after relegation to the bottom tier) and a few Pro Set cards in seasons before. Now, you can collect Albion players without having to buy thousands of stickers of players from other league sides.
The premise of the advert is that kids think these pop-ups are actually the real players. But it's not just the kids. Ever since my mini-Bobby Zamora arrived in the post, I have literally been talking to him like he's Bobby. It turns out, I'm not the only one.
It's not just this advert where the club's PR has drastically improved. The 'Together' slogan in place this season has also been a nice touch. It was made more prevalent by the Shoreham air tragedy and the club was never to realise at the start of the season how apt that would be. But the focus on the collective effort throughout the club can never be divisive.
Last season's slogan was laughable in hindsight. 'One Club, One Ambition' may have sounded perfect at the start of a new season, having made the play-offs the previous year. But Hyypiä's reign took us to the brink, and that one ambition was simply to retain our second tier status. That slogan was plastered on the club shop alongside a huge image of Jake Forster-Caskey. A player who, at the start of 2014-15, we expected great things. It didn't quite work out like that.
'One Club, One Ambition' would actually be more appropriate this season really, which just shows how marketing slogans can be made or broken by performances on the pitch. The use of 'Together' this season, and a club shop plastered with large images of several players (including one from the women's team) nicely takes the pressure off individuals. And, collectively, we've been great.
This advert also shows that I may be able to add other pop-up players to my Bobby and David Stockdale collection. Who knows? Maybe one day, I'll have a full squad to talk to.
What do I want for Christmas? Well, apart from Albion players greeting me on Christmas morning, can I ask for a pop-up Colin Hawkins?